Medication and Pregnancy: What do you know?

Some medications during pregnancy may be unavoidable but it’s so important to be smart about their use. We know that taking certain medications during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects or prematurity.

Medication can be described as a prescription from a physician or over-the-counter products you can purchase without a prescription. It is best to regulate prescription and over-the-counter medication before you become pregnant.

How are you getting the right information about medications?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about half of women ages 18 to 44 years old look for health information on the Internet. Unfortunately, while many websites post lists of medicines that are safe to take during pregnancy, there is not enough information known to determine safety or risk with use during pregnancy. Information on websites is given mostly for one product with little to no information on a combination of medications or use with over the counter products.

For example, when Rolaids® as a brand name is “Google-d” several pages come up. I stopped counting at 200 sites with information on this antacid. Web MD recommended use “only when necessary” because the over the counter antacid can cause sodium retention. However there were several listings of OB/GYN groups who stated use of Rolaids® was safe during pregnancy. One doctor’s group recommended “eating small more frequent meals, avoid spicy or greasy food” instead.

I checked Sudafed®, a sinus/allergy medication in a medical reference website (Micromedex.) The FDA listed a warning for use during pregnancy because no controlled studies in women or animals have been done to show safety and it is unknown if the medication crosses the placenta.

I checked Wed MD, an online source for medication information about Zoloft Oral. This medication is NOT recommended because it may cause harm to an unborn baby.

The Centers for Disease Control have four simple important tips for if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant regarding medications:

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking or thinking about taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, as well as dietary or herbal supplements.
  • Don’t stop or start taking any type of medicine that you need without first talking with a health care provider.
  • Check with your health care provider about the information that you find online. A conversation with your health care provider can help ensure that you taking only what is necessary.

Guest Blogger: Nancy Nevin-Folino, neonatal nutrition specialist at Dayton Children’s.

Nancy has worked in Dayton Children’s Regional Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 19 years. In this role, she collaborates with members of the health care team to develop nutrition plans for high-risk and at-risk infants, provides consultation on infant nutrition needs at Dayton Children’s and the community and shares her knowledge through role-modeling, teaching, coaching and mentoring.

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