Should Some Prescription Drugs During pregnancy Be Avoided?

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Answered by: juliet, An Expert in the On Prenatal Care Category
Becoming pregnant is can be an exciting time. Along with the excitement comes the anticipation of all the physical changes occurring. Morning sickness, stretch marks, and legs cramps are just the beginning.

Advice about remedies can come in many forms from many people such as mothers, aunts, and doctors. For most expectant mothers, that is anticipated. But focus on the health of the developing baby is extremely important as many of the prescription medications an expectant mother was ingesting may potentially harm a fetus during different periods of gestation. Some prescription drugs during pregnancy are classified as being teratogenic which means they have been proven to cause birth defects.

It is important that any prescription drugs taken by an expectant mother be discussed thoroughly with a professional OB/GYN MD to determine a safe plan of care. If there is an issue of the mother being high-risk and she is considering using a midwife, it is imperative that the midwife have a signed and dated consent to care for the mother and be working with a physician in case a problem or issue comes up which demands the expertise of an MD. Additionally the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has categorized prescription drugs from the safest (Category A) to the dangerous (Category X).


A- Controlled studies in women fail to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester (and there is no evidence of a risk in later trimesters), and the possibility of fetal harm appears remote.

B- Either animal-reproduction studies have not demonstrated a fetal risk but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women, or animal-reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect (other than a decrease in fertility) that was not confirmed in controlled studies in women in the first trimester (and there is no evidence of a risk in later trimesters).

C- Either studies in animals have revealed adverse effects on the fetus (teratogenic or embryocidal or other) and there are no controlled studies in women, or studies in women and animals are not available. Drugs should be given only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

D- There is positive evidence of human fetal risk, but the benefits from use in pregnant women may be acceptable despite the risk (e.g., if the drug is needed in a life-threatening situation or for a serious disease for which safer drugs cannot be used or are ineffective).

X- Studies in animals or human beings have demonstrated fetal abnormalities, or there is evidence of fetal risk based on human experience or both, and the risk of the use of the drug in pregnant women clearly outweighs any possible benefit. The drug is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant.

Taking prescription drugs during pregnancy must be discussed with the pregnancy caretaker. Writing down questions to ask is always helpful. You are the final decision maker, so take advantage of that and never allow somebody to talk you into something that you have reservations about because a second opinion is an option and the most desirable option is a healthy baby.

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