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Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility while taking fluoxetine

Fluoxetine and pregnancy

You can take fluoxetine during pregnancy.

Some studies have suggested that fluoxetine might occasionally affect the development of a baby’s heart. However, if there is any risk, it is small, and most babies born to women taking fluoxetine have a normal heart.

When fluoxetine is taken in the weeks before delivery it can sometimes cause short-term withdrawal symptoms and, very rarely, breathing problems in the baby. Your baby will be checked after birth and given extra care if needed.

Taking fluoxetine in the last month of pregnancy may slightly increase your risk of bleeding after delivery. However, because this side effect is rare, it's not a reason to stop taking fluoxetine.

It's important that mental health problems are well treated since these can affect your wellbeing and your baby’s. Depression and anxiety can sometimes get worse during pregnancy, and after a baby’s born.

Speak to your doctor if you become pregnant while taking fluoxetine. They will help you weigh up the risks and benefits so you can decide on the best treatment for you and your baby.

Fluoxetine and breastfeeding

If your doctor or health visitor says your baby is healthy, you can take fluoxetine while breastfeeding.

Fluoxetine passes into breast milk, usually in fairly small amounts. It has been linked with side effects in a few breastfed babies, but has been used by many breastfeeding mothers without any problems.

Although other medicines that pass into breast milk in smaller amounts might be preferred, it's important you take the medicine that works for you if you are breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to help you decide.

It's important to keep taking fluoxetine to keep you well. Breastfeeding will also benefit both you and your baby.

If you notice that your baby is not feeding as well as usual, seems unusually sleepy or irritable, has colic, or if you have any other concerns about your baby, then talk to your health visitor, midwife, pharmacist or doctor as soon as possible.

Fluoxetine and fertility

There is no evidence to suggest that taking fluoxetine reduces fertility in either men or women. But speak to a pharmacist or your doctor if you're trying to get pregnant. They may want to review your treatment.

Non-urgent advice: Tell your doctor if you're:

  • trying to get pregnant
  • pregnant
  • breastfeeding

Find out about how fluoxetine can affect you and your baby during pregnancy on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.

Page last reviewed: 10 February 2022
Next review due: 10 February 2025