When a woman is pregnant, what goes into her body can be ingested by the growing baby, including medications. Some drugs have been shown in studies to harm unborn babies, while the effect is unclear for others.
This can be tricky, as some women may need medication in order to maintain their own wellness during pregnancy. Taking medications during pregnancy usually involves some sort of analysis of the risks and benefits of doing so. This is an important decision that should be made with a doctor's consultation.
Deciding Whether to Take Drugs
When a pregnant woman is deciding whether to take medication, she must consider whether a drug is truly needed, and consult with her doctor. For example, if a pregnant woman gets a cold, she may decide to wait it out rather than take drugs for her symptoms. If the medication is necessary for an ongoing health condition, however, then the woman may need to continue taking it in order to maintain her own health.
In some cases, medications have information on the packaging that will explain the risks of taking it during pregnancy. This can help both the woman and her doctor decide what to do. But this information is not always available.
Drugs to Avoid
The information is well-established for a number of common medications when it comes to pregnancy. Certain over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin, for example, should be avoided during the last three months of pregnancy, as they can cause blood flow concerns in the baby. Nicotine therapy drugs should also be avoided during pregnancy. Accutane for acne can be dangerous, as can certain antidepressants. And, of course, a mother should avoid all illicit drugs, which can do substantial harm to an unborn baby.
SOURCE: U.S. Office of Women's Health
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