Pregnancies are often a time of great joy punctuated with doubts and questions. Pregnant women often have questions about what medication they should take to promote their health and well-being and their baby’s as well.
The use of medication during pregnancy: a reality that must be considered
Many women wonder if they should take medication during their pregnancy. Pregnancy is associated with various symptoms, aches, and discomforts, such as heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, back pain, and others. This is in addition to common ailments such as colds, headaches, and fever. During their pregnancy, some women must continue to seek treatment for chronic medical conditions, for example, diabetes, depression, and asthma. That is why, the use of medication during pregnancy must considered with care, even when such medication is necessary. In this regard, information is your best ally.
Medication during pregnancy: risks for the fetus
Certain medications can reach the fetus through the placenta, which acts as a barrier between the mother’s blood and the fetus’s. The quantity of medication that gets to the fetus varies from product to product. In certain cases, exposure to medication can lead to health problems for the fetus, including malformations. Generally, the greatest level of risk occurs in the first three months of the pregnancy when internal organs begin to form. However, problems resulting from the use of medication can occur at any stage of the pregnancy, even at the end. Ethical considerations prohibit rigorous scientific study of the safety of medication in pregnant women. As a result, we must use animal studies and clinical experience (following the market launch of a given medication) to attempt to establish the level of safety for each medication.
Advice for informed decisions
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind if you must take medication during your pregnancy:
- Following discussion with your pharmacist, only take the medication if it truly benefits you or your baby
- Always take the lowest effective dose for the shortest period possible
- Please know that natural products are not harmless and that data suggest that their justified use during pregnancy is very limited
- Never take medication without discussing it with your physician or pharmacist first
- If you look up information online, make sure the sites you visit are reliable sources
- Speak to more than one healthcare professional, for example, your physician and your pharmacist
Your healthcare professional: your best source of advice
Whenever you are considering taking medication during your pregnancy, please understand that it is an important decision that may lead to serious consequences. You have to weigh the risks and benefits carefully for your health and the health of your baby – whether the medication is a prescription, an over-the-counter product or a natural product. Your physician and pharmacist can help you to weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision. Please keep in mind that the benefits must greatly outweigh potential risks. To answer your questions fully and perform an in-depth assessment, your healthcare professional may have to consult various references.
Fortunately, the use of medication during pregnancy does not necessarily lead to dramatic consequences. The use of medication during pregnancy may be safe and provide a real, and even crucial, benefit. There is no need to worry if that is your case, but make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Keep in mind that a happy, comfortable, and healthy pregnancy is an optimal condition for your baby’s development!