The right medicines can help treat many different conditions that occur during pregnancy. However, some medications can cause harm to your unborn baby if you take them while pregnant.
According to a recent study published on the NCBI website, treatment methods used during pregnancy are old and untested. Hence, there are significant knowledge gaps around medication use and its side effects on pregnancy. This makes it vital to ensure learning and understanding about the common medicines you should avoid during pregnancy.
Why Women Who Are Pregnant Should Take Care of What Medicines They Eat
Pregnancy is a time of great change, both physically and mentally. It’s essential to take special care of yourself during this period, mainly because the health and well-being of your baby are so dependent on you.
The most important thing you can do for yourself now is to ensure that you stay away from certain foods and medicines that may harm your unborn child. This may seem common sense, but it can be difficult for a woman taking her favorite vitamins for years without incident to stop when she discovers they are unsafe during pregnancy.
Moreover, the CDC says that medicines can work both ways for pregnant women. They can be harmful if you don’t take the right medication. They can also be dangerous if you take the wrong medication. Hence, the best thing you can do is consult with your doctor about the drug.
How Medicines Can Impact the Life of a Pregnant Women
Medicines can affect your baby and your pregnancy in a variety of ways. Some medicines are safe for you to take, but some can cause congenital disabilities or even cancer in the fetus. Some medications won’t hurt the fetus, but they can make you sicker than usual. Other medicines might help you feel better, but they could be dangerous for your baby’s health if taken during pregnancy. For example:
- Medicines taken by mouth may pass through the placenta into your bloodstream and your baby’s blood supply through an umbilical cord connection. This is called transplacental transfer, which can lead to adverse and long-term effects on the baby’s health.
- Medicines applied to the skin enter the bloodstream through small blood vessels under your skin.
Medicines taken during pregnancy can significantly affect you and your child. An article published in PLOS ONE journal states that this can especially be true in underdeveloped and developing countries. The study analyzed the medicines used to treat life-changing maternal conditions and found that most medications failed quality tests.
Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy
Now that you know how taking the wrong medication can impact your pregnancy, here are some that you should avoid.
Acetaminophen is a common over-the-counter medication for pain. People also use it for anxiety, depression, or sleep problems. A recent study published on the NCBI website states that the most reported use of acetaminophen in pregnant women was for sleep or pain. However, it is not advised to consume acetaminophen when pregnant.
A study published in 2018 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that children exposed to acetaminophen for a prolonged period in the mother’s womb are at an increased risk of autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
After this study, many mothers who took Tylenol (Acetaminophen medicine) filed the Tylenol Autism Lawsuit against manufacturers. The lawsuit is still ongoing against Johnson & Johnson. Hence, if you or a loved one’s child has developed autism or ADHD due to the consumption of acetaminophen, you can consult with a lawyer and file a lawsuit. The Tylenol Autism Lawsuit will offer you compensation for medical expenses and other sufferings you have faced due to your child developing autism or ADHD.
One of the most common medications that pregnant women take is ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for years to treat pain and inflammation. But, as with all medicines, there are certain conditions where you should avoid taking ibuprofen while pregnant.
Ibuprofen is an NSAID, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discourages taking any NSAID during pregnancy, especially after 20 weeks pregnant. The reason is that these medicines can lower amniotic fluid. Moreover, there are also links between ibuprofen affecting the child’s blood circulation and kidneys and miscarriage.
Warfarin is a blood-thinning medication you should avoid taking if you’re pregnant. It may cause bleeding in your baby, and it could cause birth defects, as stated in an article on the NHS website.
If you need warfarin for a medical condition, talk to your doctor about using another medication or changing the dose of warfarin before becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking warfarin, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce the risk of bleeding problems during pregnancy.
Primaquine is a medicine used to treat malaria but can cause birth defects if you take it while pregnant. This has been proven in research on rats as well. A recent study on primaquine’s impact on rats shows that it can affect the neurobehavioral development of prenatally exposed rats.
If you need to use primaquine during pregnancy, be sure to tell your doctor and be monitored closely by him or her.
- Ask your doctor about the risks of taking this drug while pregnant.
- Talk with your doctor about how long and often you should take this medication.
- If you accidentally get pregnant while taking primaquine, talk with your doctor immediately.
Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine that binds to the GABA receptors in your brain responsible for relaxation and sedation. It’s used to treat anxiety and insomnia because of this action.
However, when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, taking any medicine that affects your central nervous system can be dangerous for your baby. In fact, an article published on the NCBI website shows that exposure to lorazepam is associated with many pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, preterm delivery, low birth weight in infants, and increased risk of certain birth defects.
Benzodiazepines like lorazepam can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination in adults, but they can be even more harmful to children. This can happen if you take these drugs while pregnant or breastfeeding because they will pass through breast milk into your baby’s bloodstream.
Overall, women need to consider the medicines they take during pregnancy carefully. Some drugs are safe for a woman to use during pregnancy, but others can be harmful or even life-threatening. If you are considering taking any prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications while pregnant, discuss them with your doctor first so that he or she can help you understand how they will affect both mother and child.
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