Any woman who’s done any reading at all about pregnancy health knows by now that there are some medications that just aren’t safe to use while pregnant. Perhaps the most well-known and widespread case was thalidomide in the 1960s. Thousands of women took the anti-nausea medication to combat morning sickness, only to find their babies were deformed by the medications.
Today, the problem is even more complex than ever. More women than ever before take daily medications, and for many women pregnancy can throw a monkey wrench into things.
Consider some raw facts:
- Over the past three decades, we’ve seen a 60% increase in the frequency of mothers taking prescription medications during the first trimester (the most critical period of your baby’s development).
- 90% of women take at least one kind of medication or nutritional supplement daily. About 70% take at least one prescription drug.
- The number of pregnant women who take four or more different medications each day has increased by 400% since the 1970s.
- More and more women are using over-the-counter medications, some of which were previously only available with a prescription.
- About 10% of all birth defects are a result of the mother taking medications during pregnancy.
Lots of information, Lots of Misinformation
Today’s women want to be self-informed. They turn to the Internet to find out what kinds of medications are OK to take during pregnancy and which aren’t.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there mixed in with the good information. For example, in one study a series of 25 different websites characterized a list of 245 medications as being safe to use during pregnancy, when these medications actually haven’t been studied as to their risk of birth defects.
The bottom line is this: if you take medication during pregnancy, make sure it’s safe. Go to authoritative sources like your doctor, pharmacist and other health professionals. Look at the National Institutes of Health website (nih.gov) and other reliable sources of information.