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Botox (Botulinum toxin) is the brand name of onabutulinumtoxinA which is a neuromodulator produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). When small amounts are injected into the muscle, Botox causes the muscle to temporarily relax which eliminates the appearance of wrinkles. In many cases, it is used to relax the facial muscles and can reduce wrinkles, such as crow’s feet and frown lines.

Botox usage during pregnancy

While there are several medical conditions treated by Botox, the most common uses are for cosmetic procedures. Due to its temporary effect, a question that is commonly asked is – can Botox be administered during pregnancy? The amount of data available regarding the use of Botox before and during pregnancy is minimal. A study in 2016 presented data which indicates that due to Botox’s heavy molecular weight it is unlikely it can go through the placenta and affect the fetus. There is technically no study that indicates Botox is unsafe in humans during pregnancy. However, most doctors advise stopping Botox injections as a precautionary measure if you are pregnant or may become pregnant.

The use of Botox during pregnancy or while nursing is contraindicated due to the unknown affects and possible risks it may have on the pregnancy and baby. In FDA animal studies, high doses of Botox injected during pregnancy caused decrease “low birth weight and skeletal ossifications.” High doses also caused abortions, premature deliveries, maternal toxicity and death. The primary animals in these clinical studies were rabbits and rats. Given the nature of these findings, it could be dangerous to get Botox during pregnancy and while nursing in the months immediately after pregnancy.

Botox after pregnancy

Allergan suggests stopping Botox treatments while pregnant or nursing. Due to ethical standards there are no studies done regarding the effect of Botox on pregnancy so there is no way of knowing how Botox will affect the fetus. As for studies on breast milk / breastfeeding, it is unknown if Botox is excreted when breastfeeding so Allergan cautions against the use of Botox while nursing. Allergan says that Botox should only be used “if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus” and advises discussing this with your medical provider.

As a result, Dr. Green does not treat pregnant women or women who are nursing with Botox. Her goal is to always put the patient’s health first which means postponing treatment to avoid any potentially adverse side effects. When the patient is no longer pregnant and has stopped nursing Dr. Green will resume Botox treatments.

Dr. Michele S. Green is a board certified dermatologist based in New York, with over 20 years of experience in skin care and cosmetic procedures. Find out if Botox® Cosmetic procedures are right for you and contact our NYC based office today or call 212-535-3088 to learn more about whether Botox is right for you.

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