As a pregnant woman, you always want to do what is best for your growing baby. This also means being cautious about what you put into your body.
Most medicines taken during pregnancy cross the placenta and reach the baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbal products, topical creams, inhalers, and vitamins and minerals.
Because your little one is going through critical stages of development, the medications you take can affect them differently than they affect you — sometimes causing birth defects or other significant problems. Hence, the safe use of medication is essential to maintain your baby’s health.
You should take medications during pregnancy only after your doctor determines that it is necessary.
Is it safe to take prescription medication during pregnancy?
Prescription medicine is medicine (drugs) your doctor says you can take to treat a diagnosed medical condition. You need to get a prescription from your doctor to purchase this medicine.
If you were taking prescription medication for a diagnosed medical condition before you became pregnant, you should discuss with your doctor the safety of continuing your current medication. You must not stop taking your medication or alter its dose without first checking with your doctor. Depending on your health condition, stopping your medicine could be harmful to both you and your baby.
Are herbal remedies safe during pregnancy?
Many people assume that natural or herbal products are safer than other options. However, that’s not always the case.
- Many of these products may not be tested to evaluate their safety and effectiveness.
- Some of these products may not be of high quality.
- Some products may contain ingredients that could harm you or your baby when used during pregnancy.
Always ask your doctor first before using herbal therapies.
Learning more about what’s safe and what’s harmful
The following tips may help you learn more about how medicines might affect you and your baby:
Always Ask- Always ask your doctor before you take any medicines, herbal products, or vitamins.
Read the Label- Product labels may give you some information about how the drug might affect pregnant women.
Be Smart Online- Even though websites list certain medicines as safe during pregnancy, you should always check with your doctor first.
Things to remember
- List down the names of all the medications you are taking or have taken recently, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, nutrition supplements, and herbal medicines. Share this list with your doctor.
- Pregnant women taking prescription medication for a pre-existing medical condition must continue their treatment under a doctor’s supervision.
- Discuss with your doctor the best ways to keep any health conditions you have under control.
1. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. Medications and drugs
before and during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancyinfo.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/PDF_medicationsanddrugsinpregnancy_ENG.pdf. Accessed on Aug 23, 2020.
2. NHS. Medicines in pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/medicines-in-pregnancy/. Accessed on Aug 23, 2020.
3. March of Dimes. Prescription medicine during pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/prescription-medicine-during-pregnancy.aspx. Accessed on Aug 23, 2020.
4. US Food and Drug Administration. Medicine and Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/free-publications-women/medicine-and-pregnancy. Accessed on Aug 23, 2020.
5. Better Health Channel. Pregnancy - medication, drugs and alcohol [Internet]. Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-medication-drugs-and-alcohol. Accessed on Aug 23, 2020.
6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treating for Two: Medicine and Pregnancy- Pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant? [Internet]. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/treatingfortwo/facts.html. Accessed on Aug 23, 2020.