Pregnancy, Medications, Birth Defects

If you are pregnant or of childbearing age and plan to get pregnant, talk to your doctors about any over-the-counter, herbal, dietary supplements, and prescription drugs that you are now taking or recommended to take in the future.

Many prescription drugs cause serious birth defects.

Clinical drugs trials on pregnant women are unethical and not practiced. The safety of most medications taken by pregnant women is unknown and dependent on many factors.

However, it’s important to note that if you are now pregnant, you should not stop taking any type of medication without first talking with a doctor. Sometimes women don’t even realize they are pregnant while taking a potentially harmful drug.

What medications can cause birth defects?
Harmful drugs are thalidomide (also known as Thalamid®) and isotretinoin (also known as Accutane®). Such medications should be avoided by all women who are or might become pregnant. While some medications are known to be harmful when taken during pregnancy, the safety of most medications taken by pregnant women has been difficult to determine. Women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant should not discount dietary and herbal products as they could be harmful to your unborn baby or have other serious side effects when taken during pregnancy.

Sometimes pregnant women must take medications to treat health conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, migraine headache prevention, high blood pressure, and depression. If these conditions are not treated, a pregnant woman or her unborn baby could be harmed. It is important that women talk to their doctor as to what medications are needed during pregnancy and what medications are likely to be the safest during pregnancy.

You are your doctor must balance the risks vs. the benefits of any medications.

What factors are involved regarding harmful drugs?

•How much medication was taken
•When during the pregnancy was the medication taken — first trimester, second trimester, third trimester
•What other health conditions does the patient have
•What other medications is the patient taking
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) works to identify possible risk factors for birth defects, including the effects of taking certain medications during pregnancy.

The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) gives information to health care providers and pregnant women about the risks and safety of taking medications during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. OTIS also conducts studies of pregnant women who contact them after having taken certain medications.

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