The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises pregnant women to be particularly careful and weigh the risks and benefits of taking medications.
Not all medications are safe to take during pregnancy. Some of the lesser known reasons for this precaution are worth highlighting.
First, pregnancy can change the way your body processes medicines. Pregnant women should ask their healthcare provider if they should change the dose for their medications.
Even common medications, such as some over-the-counter pain relievers, can be unhealthy for pregnant women and the fetus at certain times during pregnancy.
Second, many women have serious illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and epilepsy, and they need to take prescription drugs during pregnancy.
The risk of stopping a drug may be greater than continuing to take it during pregnancy. Women should always consult with a healthcare provider before stopping or starting a medication while pregnant or while trying to get pregnant.
Third, women are more vulnerable to the flu during pregnancy. A vaccine can provide some protection against the flu. Pregnant women should not receive the inhaler flu vaccine.
If you want to find reliable drug information, the FDA offers a wealth of information online that you can trust. Many women go to the Internet to get information about the use of medications during pregnancy, but unfortunately, some information online is confusing and inaccurate.
The FDA advises that you check the labels of prescription and over-the-counter drugs for any warnings about their use during pregnancy. The FDA is planning changes to drug labels in the near future that will provide more information for pregnant women.
The FDA pregnancy website (www.fda.gov/pregnancy) offers information on medications, food safety, breast pumps, and X-rays. And there is also a wealth of information for new moms, plus links to resources outside the FDA.
Women who must take medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding can review whether their medications are among the many medications studied in these pregnancy records. The idea of these registries is to collect information on how FDA-approved drugs can affect the health of pregnant women and their babies.