Staying safe with prescription medication when pregnant

Thursday December 21, 2017

If you’re pregnant, or trying to be, you may be overwhelmed by the changes taking place in your own body. It can affect nearly everything in your life, and that includes prescription medications you rely on. There may even be potential side effects for your unborn.

It’s vital that you be informed and aware for a healthy pregnancy.

Ask your doctor

It’s always best to talk to your doctor first about the prescription medications you are on, even before you become pregnant, if possible. Some medications make conception more difficult, too. The best resource is always going to be the doctor who prescribed the medications in the first place, as they are responsible for knowing any adverse effects.

Your body will probably absorb medications differently, making them more or less effective than before. It’s also possible that you are having more symptoms now than you were before. There may even be additional prescriptions that you need to help with some medical conditions which are common in pregnancy such as anxiety or gestational diabetes.

Many times, even known side effects are minor but require monitoring. Your doctor should understand the accepted standard of care and risks involved along with your own medical history better than anyone else.

Read up your medications

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that the best place to start your own education is to carefully read the labels on your prescriptions. They will contain the most critical warnings about pregnancy and what to look for. All drugs are classified by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into categories based on their known risk factors for potential harm to the unborn.

  • Category A: No risk has been found in pregnant women.
  • Category B: Animal studies found no risk, but they are not tested in humans.
  • Category C: Studies in animals found some potential risk.
  • Category D: There is a risk for the unborn, but the medication is vital for your health.
  • Category X: There is a risk the unborn which is not acceptable.

Knowing which category your medications fit into is a good start. If this is not present in the labeling you can find this information online.

Watch over-the-counter drugs and supplements, too

When you are pregnant, interactions with common medications  such as cold remedies and herbal supplements can become more severe. It’s best to avoid over-the-counter medications if at all possible when pregnant, but if you can’t be sure you research them as thoroughly as your prescription medication.

To be safe, always check with your doctor about known dangers before taking any non-prescription drugs or nutritional supplements.

Keep your peace of mind

No matter what, the most important thing is to be confident that there is nothing to worry about. You have enough on your mind as it is! This is a critical time, and the more you know the better you can take care of yourself and the new member of your family.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Pregnancy Association

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