This post is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), funded under a grant to the March of Dimes Foundation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decisions, this post is not intended to be medical advice.
Now that I’m in my third trimester with baby #2, as I look back, I realize just how many decisions you have to make while you are pregnant! Of course, the decisions don’t stop once the baby arrives, but it seems as pregnant women, we have to make a lot of decisions during the 9 months we carry our little ones. One of the most important decisions (and one that most pregnant women will have to make at some point during their pregnancy), is whether to take medications while pregnant. I personally suffer from migraines, and have also suffered from a couple of sinus infections during this pregnancy, which means the topic of taking medication while pregnant is one that I have had to make myself. Today, I’ve partnered with the CDC’s NCBDDD to give you a bit more information about taking medications in pregnancy.
The Facts About Medication in Pregnancy
As a pregnant momma, I feel that this is a topic that isn’t really talked about as much as it should be. Yes, our healthcare providers are great to answer questions, but is there really enough information provided up front? I know personally, I was provided with a “safe” medication list at my first visit for this pregnancy, which was super helpful; however there does need to be more of an open discussion about medications in pregnancy. Below are some facts that I have found helpful:
- 9 in 10 women report taking some type of medicine during pregnancy, and 7 in 10 report taking at least one prescription medicine. Over the last 30 years, women’s use of prescription medicines during the first trimester (first 3 months) of pregnancy increased by more than 60%.1
- Many women need to take medicines during pregnancy to control their health conditions. In some cases, avoiding or stopping a medicine during pregnancy may be more harmful than taking that medicine;
- At the same time, we know that taking certain medicines during pregnancy can cause birth defects, pregnancy loss, prematurity, infant death, or developmental disabilities; and
- The effects of medicine on you and your baby may depend on many factors, such as
- How much medicine you take (sometimes called the dose),
- When during the pregnancy you take the medicine,
- Other health conditions you have, and
- Other medicines you take.
I Need to Take A Medication During Pregnancy, What Do I Do?
Of course, consulting with your healthcare professional is a MUST if you feel that you need to take medication during pregnancy. Consulting with them can help you make an informed decision. You should go over all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, herbal and dietary supplements, and vitamins. Of course, it must also be said that not taking some medications during pregnancy can be even more harmful than if you do take them. Only you and your healthcare professional can make those decisions. To better start the conversation, here is a great resource for you to use when speaking to your healthcare professional.
Keeping records of what you take during your pregnancy is also imperative. The FDA’s Office of Women’s Health developed a tool in English and Spanish to help you keep a record of the medicines you take.
I Googled My Medication, Should I Trust That Information?
Take caution when watching online videos as well. A 2015 study found that content in current YouTube videos does not accurately describe the safety of specific medicines used during pregnancy. This is an important reason for you to talk with a healthcare professional about potential risks of using medicines during pregnancy.
What Is Being Done?
The CDC has started an initiative called Treating For Two. Their goal is to help better inform pregnant mothers as well as to further the education and communication surrounding taking medications while pregnant. As a mom, I am so glad that they started this initiative!
More great resources are available on this topic, below are a few great ones for you: