Everyone wants to look and feel their best, and to do this, many patients turn to cosmetic procedures such as Botox treatment. These injections are popular for helping to reduce the appearance of wrinkles but they also can be used to treat headaches and excessive sweating.
As Botox is incredibly popular, it’s not surprising that many people who get it are also wanting to start a family. Botox and pregnancy are often talked about, but do you know what the guidelines are? So, can you get Botox when pregnant? Although we don’t have enough information to be conclusive, let’s take a look at the information we do know.
What Is Botox?
Before we discuss Botox in pregnancy, let’s define Botox. It is a brand name of a product that has neurotoxin that’s generated by the bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. When Botox is injected in small amounts, it can temporarily paralyze the targeted muscles and force them to relax. It was approved by the FDA in the late 1980s and is commonly used today for frown lines treatment, facial wrinkles treatment, and more. There are other products that contain this toxin but have different brand names such as Dysport, Myobloc, and Xeomin, although not all of these are used for cosmetic purposes.
Is Botox Safe During Pregnancy?
If you’ve long been a Botox recipient, you likely don’t think twice before booking your next appointment. According to research, botulinum toxin injections such as Botox are considered to be safe for most people, especially when targeting the parallel lines between your eyebrows. However, if you become pregnant, you might wonder can pregnant women get Botox.
There have been some animal studies that show the potential for safe Botox injections while pregnant. Researchers injected botulinum toxin into pregnant animals and there was no evidence that the toxin reached the placenta. However, animals aren’t people.
The safety of Botox during pregnancy can also be evaluated based on the size of the molecules. There is evidence that the size of the toxin molecule inhibits its ability to cross into the placental barrier.
Despite the research that has been conducted on this topic thus far, there isn’t conclusive data on whether or not you can do Botox while pregnant. According to a 2017 review of cosmetic procedure safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding, there haven’t been any clinical trials that examine the effects of botulinum toxin for cosmetic purposes in women who are pregnant. The bottom line is that more research is required to establish a definitive answer.
Risks of Using Botox while Pregnant
It’s important to understand the risks of getting Botox while you are pregnant. One potential risk to consider is the toxin spreading beyond the treatment area. If it extends beyond the original site of injection, it can result in botulism which is a potentially dangerous condition.
The FDA outlines some common symptoms of botulism, including:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty forming words
- Double or blurred vision
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Loss of bladder control
These Botox and pregnancy side effects can develop as soon as a few hours after getting the injection, however, it can also take many days or weeks to develop. If you are pregnant and you experience the above side effects, make sure to get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible.
Can You Get Botox while Breastfeeding?
Botox and breastfeeding are other common concerns. Once the baby has arrived, you might be itching to return to normal. If you’re planning to breastfeed and you’re also interested in getting your Botox injections, you might wonder whether injections fit into your plans. Before moving forward with your decision, it’s important to consider the risks and the benefits.
As the FDA notes, it’s not known for sure whether Botox will cause harm to an unborn baby. In the same discussion, it also isn’t known whether Botox transfers into breast milk. There was a 2017 study conducted that suggests that botulinum toxin A seems to be safe for breastfeeding moms. The study suggests that there is only a negligible level of systemic absorption and placental transfer.
However, it isn’t known for sure whether Botox passes into breast milk. This is why the FDA always advises breastfeeding moms to proceed with caution. Even though there is some research that suggests that getting Botox while breastfeeding won’t enter the bloodstream, this research is not conclusive, and the research surrounding it is scarce.
What If You Have Botox, then Got Pregnant?
Some patients may think, wait, “I got botox before I knew I was pregnant!” It’s impossible to plan for all aspects of life, especially when it comes to pregnancy. If you’ve recently gotten Botox and you found out that you were pregnant after the fact, you might be feeling panicked. Fortunately, you can rest assured that there have been multiple studies on pregnant women who recently had Botox injected without realizing that they were pregnant. In these cases, there weren’t any adverse side effects that were reported.
This is likely due to the fact that Botox has minimal bioavailability in the bloodstream, meaning there is a minimal chance that it will cause a problem if it has already been administered. If you happen to be in this situation, try to relax as much as possible as your unborn baby will most likely remain unaffected.
When Can You Resume Botox Injections?
If you decide to temporarily stop getting Botox injections while you are pregnant, you’re likely wondering when you’ll be able to start getting the injections again. This answer isn’t always clear cut and you’ll likely find varying information online.
Even though it doesn’t appear to be risky to get Botox injections while you are breastfeeding, there isn’t a ton of research on this topic. As a safe bet, we recommend avoiding Botox injections until after you begin to wean your baby off of breastfeeding. You can always talk through these topics with your healthcare provider for more specific information and recommendations.
What If You Use Botox for Medical Rather than Cosmetic Purposes?
Botox isn’t only used for cosmetic reasons; many patients seek Botox to help them with their migraines or excessive sweating referred to as hypohidrosis. Some patients are interested in getting Botox for migraines while pregnant. Doctors also use Botox to treat dystonia, a condition that consists of repetitive movements that develop due to uncontrolled muscle contractions.
Can you get Botox for migraines while pregnant? The answer is that it depends on the balance of risks versus benefits for such a procedure. Some patients seek alternative treatments that are proven to be safe during pregnancy while others feel comfortable continuing with their injections.
Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives to Botox
Thankfully, there are alternatives to Botox when pregnant that you can explore. Although the results might not be exactly the same as you can achieve with Botox, there are still Botox alternatives while pregnant that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the interim. We’ve outlined only a few of the possibilities below.
#1 Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid helps to exfoliate the skin and increases the rate of cell turnover. As a result, collagen production is boosted and pores are cleared, leaving behind a fresh and youthful appearance. Other benefits of using glycolic acid include an improved skin tone, faded dark patches, sun spots, and overall more hydrated skin.
#2 Hyaluronic Acid
Another Botox alternative when pregnant is using skin care products that have hyaluronic acid. This is a substance that is found naturally in the body and it helps to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. This substance can also help speed up wound healing and reduce the appearance of scarring.
Just as Botox works to inhibit your nerves’ ability to release a signal to your muscles, so does Argireline. It limits the movements that can result in wrinkles on your face and it is often compared to retinol. Argireline is a bit gentler on the skin compared to retinol so it is sometimes a preferred alternative for those with more sensitive skin.
HydraFacials are one of the best alternatives to getting Botox when pregnant as they have the ability to improve the overall complexion of the skin in a gentle yet effective manner. As hormonal acne can be prevalent for pregnant women, HydraFacials help to exfoliate, cleanse, and nourish the skin in a safe way.
#5 Chemical Peel
Another option for pregnant women is an in-office chemical peel. During this procedure, a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers, leaving behind fresh, youthful skin. Consistent chemical peels can help lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
#6 Vitamin C
To further keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay, make sure that your skincare routine contains vitamin C. This ingredient is known to come with a host of benefits such as reducing wrinkles, assisting with wound healing, protecting your collagen and increasing collagen production, evening out your skin tone, brightening your complexion, protecting against sun damage, and protecting your skin from pollution and other free radicals.
Bakuchiol is an antioxidant that has a lot of positive side effects including stimulating skin cell turnover, improving skin tone and texture, and helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Keep in mind that mixing vitamin C with bakuchiol can cause skin sensitivity so it’s best to not layer them.
It may sound silly, but humidity can help slow down the signs of aging. When there is a lack of moisture, it can create less plumped skin and deeper lines. If you’re concerned about fine lines developing further during your pregnancy, make sure that your skin is hydrated consistently even during the dry winter months.
Despite the benefits of Botox injections and the confidence that Botox instills in many, it’s clear that Botox and pregnancy shouldn’t be mixed. Even though you should avoid Botox to keep your unborn baby as safe as possible, you can still explore alternative methods to minimize fine lines and wrinkles just as we’ve outlined above. Our licensed and advanced practice estheticians can help you learn more about how our offerings outside of Botox can help. Don’t hesitate to contact us!