Medications During Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Not?

by Carter Toni

Pregnancy is a stage in a woman’s life that demands utmost care and precaution. Taking medicines when you are feeling under the weather is a pretty normal thing to do. But, during pregnancy, you must consult with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medicines, for the safety of you and your baby.

What medications are safe to take during pregnancy?

Depending on the individual, some medicines can be more effective than others. At the same time, some drugs can have low to severe side effects on the mom’s health, and in rare cases, even the fetus.

Since each case can be unique depending on the lifestyle and health conditions of the individual, it can be challenging for doctors to prescribe medicines to a pregnant woman.

Gender testing is an important procedure that helps in identifying whether the fetus has any chromosomal abnormalities. This procedure is vital as it can be useful for deciding the right medication for you during pregnancy.

Here are some common prescriptions that are mostly deemed safe for pregnant women.

  • Prenatal vitamins: Vitamins are essential and even more so during pregnancy. Not only are prenatal vitamins safe to take during pregnancy, but they are also somewhat a necessity.
  • Fibre laxative: Laxatives like Metamucil is pretty safe to take.
  • Chest rubs: Vicks Vaporub and other similar products
  • Diphenhydramine: Benadryl and other similar medicines that are used to treat allergies, fever, and cold.
  • Nasal sprays
  • Ointments: Neosporin and Polysporin
  • Antacids, used for heartburns, are generally prescribed to pregnant women

To reiterate, consulting with your doctor is a must before taking any medicines during pregnancy to ensure the well-being of your baby. 

What alternative therapies are considered safe during pregnancy?

There are many alternative therapies that women prefer nowadays to help them deal with pregnancy-related issues. Alternative therapies are any treatment that does not include the consumption of traditional medicines. Many alternative therapies are growing in popularity as they are safe and effective for women of all ages.

Here are some therapies that are safe and effective for pregnant women:

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment that is very effective in dealing with pregnancy-related issues like nausea and body ache.

    An experienced practitioner will be able to help you relax and de-stress by inserting a very thin needle in your acupoints. There is plenty of scientific data that confirms the benefits of acupuncture to deal with pregnancy discomforts.

  • Focused breathing: During pregnancy and labor, there are many instances where women have to deal with different types of pain. Focused breathing is a technique through which they can, to a great extent, reduce pain.
  • Chiropractic: Chiropractic is one of the most popular alternative treatments worldwide. It deals with the prevention and treatment of the musculoskeletal system.

    Consulting with a chiropractor that has experience in prenatal treatment can be greatly beneficial in dealing with problems like backache.

Aromatherapy, massage, and emotional support are also certain alternative treatments effective to deal with pregnancy-related discomforts.

Therapies to avoid during pregnancy

Consumption of oral supplements for the better health of the mom and the baby is a common practice among pregnant women. An inclination towards the consumption of natural supplements is also evident in recent years.

However, it is important to understand that not all “natural” products are in fact natural. Misleading labels can lead to misinformation which ends up affecting the health of the mother and the child.

Here are some oral supplements that when taken in concentrated form could affect the fetus.

  • Blue cohosh
  • Black cohosh
  • Arborvitae
  • Beth root
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Cascara
  • Chinese angelica
  • Cotton root bark
  • Cinchona
  • Feverfew
  • Goldenseal
  • Ginseng
  • Kava kava
  • Juniper
  • Licorice
  • Pennyroyal
  • Poke root
  • Meadow saffron
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Senna
  • Tansy
  • Yellow dock
  • Wormwood
  • White peony

Although aromatherapy is a common alternative treatment used to deal with pregnancy discomfort, it is important to know which essential oils are beneficial and which ones can cause harm.

When done right, with proper caution, aromatherapy is effective in relieving certain prenatal complications like nausea and anxiety. Here are the essential oils that you should avoid during pregnancy.

  • Calamus
  • Sage
  • Wintergreen
  • Mugwort
  • Hyssop
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Pennyroyal

Apart from the above-mentioned oral supplements and essential oils, you should also avoid any medicines that contain Isotretinoin, Methotrexate, and Valproic acid.

If there is any circumstance under which you are required to take any kind of medication during pregnancy, running them by your doctor is of utmost importance.

No doubt pregnancy is a stage that demands care and caution. However, with proper knowledge and sound medical advice, pregnancy can be a memorable experience. Listening and adhering to the advice and prescriptions of your doctor is of utmost importance. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to avoid consuming any unnecessary medicine during pregnancy.

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