Medications During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, it is important to understand that everything you take into your body passes from your blood to baby's blood; therefore, it is best to avoid all over-the-counter medicines especially in the first eight weeks of pregnancy (ten weeks after your last menstrual period). This period is particularly important because it is during the first eight weeks are when your baby's heart, lung and brain systems are being formed. Remember that no medication is safe for 100 percent of the people, however there are times when the benefits of a medication far outweigh any risks. Services like those offered by Millennium Labs test patients to ensure any medications they're taking won't cause adverse side effects.

If you are under the weather while pregnant you do have other options. Before taking over-the-counter medicines try other ways to relieve your symptoms. For cold and cough symptoms it is recommended you rest, drink extra fluids and use a cool mist vaporizer - 18 inches from your face. Occasionally it may be necessary for your doctor to prescribe medicines during pregnancy. Take exactly as prescribed. If prescribed an antibiotic, take all the medication. Remember: the healthier you are, the healthier your baby will be. If you are unable to tolerate the medicine, call the clinic.

Safe medications
This website is just intended to guide you and provide you with information. You should always consult a professional before you start taking any medications. Your best sources of information will be: a well-informed physician; The Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov); The March of Dimes (www.modimes.org).
If you need to take some medication during your pregnancy, follow these tips to help minimize the potential for any adverse side effects:

  • be sure to discuss with your physician the possibility of taking the medication in the smallest effective doses for the shortest possible time
  • be sure that you take the medication when it will be of most help to you; for example, taking a cold medication at night is most helpful because it will help you get to bed
  • remember to follow any directions given to you b your physician or pharmacist carefully; some medications should be taken on an empty stomach, while others need to be taken with a meal. Also, try to get all you prescriptions at the same pharmacy. This way, your pharmacist will be able to warn you of potential drug interactions. Also, be sure to check the name and dosage on the bottle to be sure it�s the drug specified by your doctor.
  • Always ask about possible side effects and which ones should be reported to your doctor.
  • You can ensure that your medication goes down more easily by drinking a sip of water before you swallow a capsule or tablet, and by drinking a full glass afterward.

    Though we recommend staying away from medications during pregnancy, there are some that are considered safe. Remember it is best to wait to take these until after the first ten weeks of pregnancy, and that all medications taken during pregnancy should be first cleared by your health care provider. Here are some over-the-counter medicines that are usually considered safe:

    Cold Symptoms and Hay Fever
    If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor first

  • Chlor-Trimeton (antihistamine)
  • Sudafed (decongestant)
  • Actifed (antihistamine and decongestant)

    Cough Symptoms

  • Robitussin or Robitussin DM
    If sore throat persists, you should call in to the Obstetric Clinic to schedule an appointment for a throat culture.

    Constipation

  • Docusate (Colace) : 100 mg twice a day
  • Metamucil : 1-2 teaspoon with 8 oz juice or water
  • Milk of Magnesia - 1-2 Tablespoon every evening
  • Do not use mineral oil

    Minor Headache or Body Ache

  • Tylenol or any acetaminophen preparations, 2 tablets or 650 mg every 4 hours
  • Do not take aspirin during your pregnancy unless instructed to do so by your physician. Aspirin may interfere with blood clotting and cause problems during labor and delivery
  • Do not take ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) unless instructed by your physician
  • If headache persists for more than 24 hours, call the Clinic

    Heartburn

  • Amphogel
  • Gelusil
  • Maalox
  • Do not use baking soda or Pepto bismol

    Fever or Chills
    Take your temperature if you feel unusually hot or cold. If you do not have a thermometer try to get one so you can tell the doctor or nurse what your temperature is. If your temperature is above 100.5 call the Clinic. If your temperature is less than 100.5 take Tylenol 650 mg every 4 hours. If your fever lasts longer than 48 hours call the Clinic.

    Prozac and Pregnancy
    When it comes to determining whether to discontinue medications during pregnancy, it becomes a very delicate balancing act. Prozac is a Class B medication, meaning that it is recommended that it be discontinued during pregnancy unless deemed medically necessary by a physician. Women taking Prozac during their pregnancies do not have a higher risk of miscarriage or major fetal abnormalities, but if taken during the third trimester they are at a higher risk of perinatal complications such as premature birth. These children do not experience any adverse effects on their neurological development. In contrast, untreated maternal depression can have an adverse effect on infant's and young children's cognitive, language, behavioral and perinatal risks. Obviously there are some risks associated with Prozac use during pregnancy, but the mother's mental wellbeing is also a risk factor.

    Following childbirth, many mothers experience a condition called postpartum depression. Since this a period of high risk for depression under normal circumstances, women with chronic depression often choose to resume their medications during this time. There are many mothers, however, who choose to enjoy the full motherhood experience and breastfeed. Not much is known about what levels of Prozac actually are found in breast milk so it generally recommended that mothers not nurse their babies if they are talking Prozac.

    Perhaps the most difficult factor in making a decision whether to take antidepressant medications is the mother herself. During pregnancy, there is a strong impulse to do everything possible to have a healthy baby. However, the mother often ignores her own needs. A predisposition towards depression may complicate matters. The telltale signs of depression may creep up before the mother is even aware of them.

    Don't count on your own judgment to know if you're handling things okay without your medications. Keep in touch with your physician and let your friends and family know that they should monitor you for the signs of depression. If there's any doubt about your ability to handle being without your medications, seek support and if necessary resume taking your medication. Remember, you must take care of yourself first in order to be able to take care of your baby.

    For more information on using Prozac during pregnancy, visit Women's Health.

    Aspirin and Pregnancy
    It is especially important not to use aspirin during the last three months of pregnancy, unless specifically directed to do so by a physician because it may cause problems in the unborn child or complications during delivery. Also, aspirin is transferred to breast milk and it is estimated that a nursing baby receives about 4-8% of the mother's dose. Continued exposure to small doses of aspirin may be harmful to babies because aspirin tends to build up in their bodies. In some countries, nursing woman are advised against aspirin use because of the possible development of Reye's Syndrome in their babies. This is a rare condition that affects the brain and liver and is most often observed in children given aspirin during a viral illness. Because sufficient information is not available to accurately determine the extent of aspirin accumulation in babies and the resulting health outcomes, aspirin intake by nursing mothers should be considered unsafe.

    Tylenol and Pregnancy
    Tylenol (known generically as Acetaminophen) is an important drug when your child has a headache, fever, toothache or muscle injury. It can help ease the pain and allow your child to get a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, Tylenol is also a powerful toxin. The problem with Acetaminophen is that it affects the liver. The liver is the place where your body processes Acetaminophen to remove it from the bloodstream. This natural removal process is the reason why you have to take Acetaminophen every four hours or so. When you take too much Acetaminophen, it overloads the liver's ability to handle the drug. In the process, it creates a toxin that kills your liver, and you die several days later.

    Too much Tylenol can kill your child. The thing that makes Acetaminophen dangerous, especially for children, is that the difference between a "dose" and a fatal "overdose" is small. Ways to prevent dangerous doses of Tylenol to your child include:

  • Avoid giving the wrong dose to your child by mixing up infant's and children's Tylenol
  • Don't accidentally give your child a double dose. Sometimes one parent gives the child a dose and then the other parent does the same thing ten minutes later because of lack of communication. With Tylenol and any medicine, make sure one parent is responsible for giving medicines. If two people are doing it, make sure you communicate to avoid confusion and duplication of doses. If necessary, create a sheet of paper that tracks the doses and times that medicines are to be given, and check them off as you give them.
  • Avoid giving your child two medicines simultaneously because both may contain Acetaminophen. Check all medicines you give your child to make sure that they do not contain Tylenol/Acetaminophen before giving them to your child
  • Be sure to watch your toddler, because it has happened that a parent has dropped a Tylenol pill on the floor, and the toddler found it and popped into her mouth. Keep Tylenol and all other adult medicines well out of reach of children and in childproof bottles. If you drop a pill, make sure you find it and pick it up
  • If you suspect a Tylenol overdose, you should call your local poison control center or emergency room immediately

    Back to top

     

    Worried about taking medication during pregnancy? Discuss it with other women in the forum

     

  • Login to comment
    (1 Comments)

    Post a comment

    tally676
    i was so worried about what to do when trying to get pregnant and being on anti depressants. my doctor sent me to a specialist to talk about how to come off the drugs before trying to get pregnant since they said it would take my mind to adjust and it could cause me to fall into a deep depression. they slowly had me cut down on my drugs little by little until i was completely off everything. it was so hard but by the end i felt ok and its actually nice to know i can be ok without the pills. i got pregnant six months after stopping my meds and now i have a beautiful baby girl!!!!!
    3 years ago