Narcolepsy and Pregnancy

It takes a lot of planning to start a family. Planning is much more vital if you have narcolepsy. There will be crucial questions to ask and considerations to make, particularly regarding the medications you are taking before, during, and after pregnancy. However, most women with narcolepsy have normal pregnancies and childbirth.

Narcolepsy Treatment During Pregnancy

You probably take medication to allow you to stay awake during the day if you have narcolepsy. Several persons with narcolepsy have cataplexy, a symptom of unexpectedly losing muscular control. Antidepressant drugs are frequently used to treat cataplexy. Like pitolisant or sodium oxybate, other medications can help you sleep better at night and keep you awake throughout the day. Doctors aren’t sure how narcolepsy medicines affect pregnant or breastfeeding women. The majority of narcolepsy medications are classified as category C by the FDA. 

That is why there are no specific recommendations for narcoleptic women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, your doctor may advise you to stop accepting your narcolepsy medication or reduce the amount. It would help if you discussed the risks and advantages of your medications with your doctor. If you can manage your narcolepsy simply by napping, that may be preferable to taking medications with uncertain side effects. However, if you cannot operate without your medications, your doctor may advise you to continue taking them.

Many women choose to stop taking medicine because they are concerned that it may harm their unborn child. If you and your doctor decide that continuing to take your medications is the best option, bear in mind that many women with narcolepsy have done so successfully. According to some research, problems with pregnancy narcolepsy medications during pregnancy are likely overstated. The majority of reported pregnancy outcomes for women with narcolepsy are similar, regardless of whether they stopped taking their medication.

What to Predict When You’re Pregnant

If you’re pregnant with narcolepsy, you’ll probably have a normal pregnancy regardless of whether you take medications or control your narcolepsy without medication. However, some evidence shows that women with cataplexy and narcolepsy are more likely to develop specific health concerns, such as diabetes.

Diabetes that develops for the first time during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. According to one research, women with cataplexy may be at a greater risk because, according to one research, they acquire more weight during pregnancy than women without the condition.

Although gestational diabetes rarely causes symptoms, your OB/GYN will be on the watch for it. If you acquire it, your doctor will advise you to make dietary and activity adjustments. If those don’t work, you may need to try a different medication.

Women with cataplexy and narcolepsy are more likely to develop anemia during pregnancy. Consult your doctor if there’s anything you should be aware of or actions you can take to keep healthy while you’re pregnant.

What to Expect During Pregnancy

Narcolepsy should not put you at risk for premature labor or cause any issues during or after delivery. The majority of women with narcolepsy give delivery vaginally with no complications. Cataplexy can occur during labor in rare situations. Even though cataplexy is unlikely to occur during labor, if you have narcolepsy with cataplexy, you’re more likely to have a C-section.

Newborn caring when you are Narcolepsy

It’s never easy to look after a newborn. It’s much more difficult if you have narcolepsy. Most narcoleptic moms report that their symptoms made it more difficult to care for their newborns.

This is another moment when you should see your doctor about whether or not to continue taking your narcolepsy medications. If you do, it’s possible that you won’t be able to breastfeed. However, at least some cases of mothers who used stimulants during nursing demonstrate that the infant was unaffected. Many physicians advise against it simply because they aren’t well-versed in the hazards.

Breastfeeding will not be the sole consideration when deciding whether or not to take drugs after your baby is born. Whether you can breastfeed or not, the essential thing is that you and your baby are safe. Medications that regulate your symptoms may help you stay both safe and healthy. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have all of the assistance you require from others to obtain the rest you require.

Remember that, due to the scarcity of information and confusion around narcolepsy pregnancy, physicians may likely give you varied recommendations and opinions. Your primary care physician or OB/GYN will likely disagree with your sleep physician.


  • Narcolepsy Network: “Parenting with Narcolepsy.”
  • Sleep Medicine: “Management of narcolepsy during pregnancy,” “GHB levels in breast milk of women with narcolepsy with cataplexy treated with sodium oxybate.”
  • Harvard Medical School: “Narcolepsy: Changes Across the Lifespan.”
  • Medscape: “Sleep Dysfunction in Women Treatment & Management.”
  • Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine: “Pregnancy and Contraception Experiences in Women With Narcolepsy: A Narcolepsy Network Survey,” “Conception, Pregnancy, Delivery, and Breastfeeding in a Narcoleptic Patient with Cataplexy.”
  • Journal of Sleep Research: “Narcolepsy and pregnancy: a retrospective European evaluation of 249 pregnancies,” “Narcolepsy with cataplexy and pregnancy: a case-control study.”
  • Mayo Clinic: “Narcolepsy,” “Gestational Diabetes.”


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