Drugs during pregnancy? Factors to consider

  • Certain medicines should be avoided because they can harm the baby.
  • Dosage of medicines may need to be increased or decreased – kidney and heart works more when pregnant, making medicines flush out of the body faster.
  • While vitamins are important during pregnancy, it is important to discuss with the doctor the right amount of vitamins during pregnancy.

Fallen ill after getting pregnant

Some health issues need medicinal attention, as it could pose problems to the mother and baby. For example, an untreated infection of the urinary tract (UTI) can infect the kidneys, and lead to complications like low birth weight and premature labour. Similarly, extremely severe morning sickness and elevated blood pressure can cause harm to the baby.

It becomes important to discuss the course of action with the doctor, who can prescribe a medicine that treats the illness with no or minimum side effect on the baby’s health. It is crucial for pregnant women to inform a doctor about their pregnancy so that s/he can weigh the benefits and risks involved in treating an illness with medicine, and for prescribing alternate medicines that would be safe for the baby.

Ongoing health problem and pregnant

For women dealing with existing health conditions like diabetes, asthma, depression or epilepsy, continuing the treatment through pregnancy is important, as pausing it can prove to be more harmful for both mother and baby.

All records of current medication must be shared with the gynaecologist and the relevant specialist treating the disorder as soon as the woman realises she is pregnant, or even when planning a pregnancy. It is not advisable to change medication or stop treatment without consulting the doctor. The doctor will follow one of the following courses of actions:

  • Continue the same medication if it does not affect the pregnancy in any form.
  • Adjust the dosage given that the kidneys and heart functional faster during pregnancy, increasing the odds of the medicine flushing out of the body without effect.
  • Change medication for a specific period or throughout the pregnancy.

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“I’m pregnant — can I take medicines safely?” NPS.org.au, https://www.nps.org.au/topics/ages-life-stages/for-individuals/im-pregnant-can-i-take-it

“Medications and Pregnancy,” CDC.gov, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/

“Medicine and Pregnancy,” FDA.org, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118567.htm

“Pregnancy and medicines fact sheet,” Womenshealth.gov, https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/pregnancy-medicines.html

“Taking Medicine During Pregnancy,” WebMD.com, https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/taking-medicine-during-pregnancy

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