Botox is relatively safe, although its effects on pregnant clients remain unstudied. This article discusses the impact of botulinum toxin injections on pregnant patients.
Botulinum treatment is among the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedures with incredible anti-wrinkle effects. The neurotoxin is used for cosmetic purposes and approved for various medical conditions, most linked to the neuromuscular system. Since female clients popularly use the injectable, you may wonder whether it is safe to receive it while pregnant. Botox is a category C drug, meaning its efficacy on pregnant women has not been fully studied. There are still no reliable studies conducted so far to determine the potential effects of Botox treatment during pregnancy.
What Is Botox?
Botox is a brand name for Botulinum toxin A, a neurotoxin derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum). According to Spinu et al. (2020), Botulinum toxin is a highly toxic substance. However, when administered in small doses, it can temporarily weaken or freeze your muscle cells, making them relax. Because of this property, the injection is popularly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment. In 2002, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved Botox as a temporary cosmetic treatment for adults’ severe frown lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines. Apart from the cosmetic use of Botox, neurotoxins can also be used for medical purposes. Padda (2021) listed a few FDA-approved medical conditions that can be treated with Botox. They include; chronic migraine, cervical dystonia, blepharospasm, strabismus, hyperhidrosis, urinary incontinence, and hemifacial spasms.
How Does Botox Work?
Botox is a neurotoxin drug. A neurotoxin substance acts on the nervous system by disrupting its functions. Botulinum toxic injection alters the nerve-signaling system that provokes muscle contraction. Botulinum toxin works by blocking acetylcholine, the primary neurotransmitter at the neuromuscular junction. When injected into the muscle cells, it causes temporal muscle paralysis by inhibiting the release of acetylcholine from presynaptic motor neurons. The peak of paralytic effects becomes apparent 4 to 7 days after the injection.
Uses of Botox
Botulinum toxic injection has cosmetic and medical uses. Botox is used in facial aesthetics to reduce wrinkles and facial creases. The injections are the most popular cosmetic treatment, with over 7 million clients receiving them for different reasons. According to Park (2021), botulinum toxic injection is used cosmetically to treat facial wrinkles with skin rejuvenation and to contour the lower face, calf, and neck-shoulder lines.
The anti-wrinkle injection has been approved as a medical treatment for patients with crossed eyes (strabismus), upper limb spasticity, chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating (hyperhidrosis), symptoms of overactive bladder, and eyelid spasms or blepharospasm.
Is It Safe to Have Botox While Pregnant?
Although Botox treatment is considered safe, some side effects are still experienced after the procedure. They include headaches, fever, low appetite, and chest pain, shortness of breath, hives, and flu-like symptoms. These side effects could affect your baby’s development. It is safer to skip Botox injections while pregnant. There are no formal studies with robust evidence supporting botulinum toxin injection are a safe treatment while pregnant; the side effects can be detrimental to your unborn baby.
Pregnancy-Safe Alternatives to Botox
There are several pregnancy-safe alternatives to keep your skin refreshed. Although there are no aesthetic treatments like botulinum toxin injection, certain skincare ingredients with anti-wrinkle effects can be safe while pregnant. They include:
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is naturally found in the body. It traps water molecules and keeps your skin hydrated. It also locks in moisture and adds plumpness to your skin, reducing wrinkles and other aging signs. HA can also be found in various skincare products, including creams and serums.
Glycolic acid is a pregnancy-safe alternative to botulinum toxin injection. The acid may not be as effective as botulinum toxin injection. Nevertheless, it can stimulate collagen production; increasing collagen production reduces fine lines and wrinkles with time.
Argireline is a skincare ingredient that works like botulinum toxin injection. It reduces muscle activity by interfering with the neuromuscular system. Argireline can also reduce fine lines and smooth out wrinkles, although botulinum toxic injections are superior; this makes it a safer alternative to botulinum toxin injections while pregnant.
Vitamin C protects your skin against damage from UV radiation and prevents premature signs of aging.
You can also refresh your skin by drinking plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Besides, you can use moisturizing and exfoliating skincare products. One should avoid products containing retinol or salicylic acid; they may be detrimental to your unborn baby.
Frequently Asked Questions about Botox
What Are the Side Effects of Botulinum Injections?
Common side effects of the botulinum injection include bruising, swelling, redness, or itchiness around the injected area. They usually resolve on their own within a few days after the injection.
How Soon Do I See Botox Results?
You will start noticing anti-wrinkle injection results 3 to 5 days after the procedure. However, patients are different; for some, it may take up to 14 days to see the results.
How Long Does Botulinum Injections Last?
Botulinum toxin injection results last 3 to 6 months, depending on individual body metabolism and the intensity of your wrinkles.
While botulinum toxin injections can be an effective method to enhance the appearance of your skin, having it while pregnant may not be a good idea. Your unborn must be safe and protected against any toxicity. While it is important to avoid botulinum injections, you do not have to give in to wrinkles completely. Consider several pregnancy-safe alternatives to refresh and rejuvenate your skin. You can also consult your medical practitioner for other options while pregnant.
Nigam, P. K., & Nigam, A. (2010). Botulinum toxin. Indian journal of dermatology, 55(1), 8.
Padda, I. S., & Tadi, P. (2021). Botulinum toxin. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.
Park, M. Y., & Ahn, K. Y. (2021). Scientific review of the aesthetic uses of botulinum toxin type A. Archives of Craniofacial Surgery, 22(1), 1.
Spinu, A. D., Bratu, O. G., Diaconu, C. C., Stanescu, A. M. A., Bungau, S., Fratila, O., … & Mischianu, D. L. D. (2020). Botulinum toxin in low urinary tract disorders‑over 30 years of practice. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 20(1), 117-120.