Pregnancy and Medicines

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Quick GuideStages of Pregnancy: See the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Trimesters of Mom & Baby

Stages of Pregnancy: See the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Trimesters of Mom & Baby

What if I get sick and need to use medicine while I am pregnant?

Whether or not you should use medicine during pregnancy is a serious question to discuss with your doctor. Some health problems need treatment. Not using a medicine that you need could harm you and your baby. For example, a urinary tract infection (UTI) that is not treated may become a kidney infection. Kidney infections can cause preterm labor and low birth weight. An antibiotic is needed to get rid of a UTI. Ask your doctor whether the benefits of taking a certain medicine outweigh the risks for you and your baby.

I have a health problem. Should I stop using my medicine while I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, you should talk to your doctor about your medicines. Do not stop or change them on your own. This includes medicines for depression, asthma, diabetes, seizures (epilepsy), and other health problems. Not using medicine that you need may be more harmful to you and your baby than using the medicine.

For women living with HIV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using zidovudine (AZT) during pregnancy. Studies show that HIV positive women who use AZT during pregnancy greatly lower the risk of passing HIV to their babies. If a diabetic woman does not use her medicine during pregnancy, she raises her risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, and some birth defects. If asthma and high blood pressure are not controlled during pregnancy, problems with the fetus may result.

Pregnancy Category Definition Examples of Drugs
A In human studies, pregnant women used the medicine and their babies did not have any problems related to the medicine. Folic AcidLevothyroxine (thyroid hormone medicine)
B In humans, there are no good studies. But in animal studies, pregnant animals received the medicine, and the babies did not show any problems related to the medicine. Or In animal studies, pregnant animals received the medicine, and some babies had problems. But in human studies, pregnant women used the medicine and their babies did not have any problems related to using the medicine. Some antibiotics like amoxicillin.Zofran® (ondansetron) for nausea Glucophage® (metformin) for diabetes Some insulins used to treat diabetes such as regular and NPH insulin.
C In humans, there are no good studies. In animals, pregnant animals treated with the medicine had some babies with problems. However, sometimes the medicine may still help the human mothers and babies more than it might harm. Or No animal studies have been done, and there are no good studies in pregnant women. Diflucan® (fluconazole) for yeast infections Ventolin® (albuterol) for asthma Zoloft® (sertraline) and Prozac® (fluoxetine) for depression
D Studies in humans and other reports show that when pregnant women use the medicine, some babies are born with problems related to the medicine. However, in some serious situations, the medicine may still help the mother and the baby more than it might harm. Paxil® (paroxetine) for depression Lithium for bipolar disorder Dilantin® (phenytoin) for epileptic seizures Some cancer chemotherapy
X Studies or reports in humans or animals show that mothers using the medicine during pregnancy may have babies with problems related to the medicine. There are no situations where the medicine can help the mother or baby enough to make the risk of problems worth it. These medicines should never be used by pregnant women. Accutane® (isotretinoin) for cystic acne Thalomid® (thalidomide) for a type of skin disease

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