Pregnancy planning

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP

    Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms Slideshow

Quick GuideBoost Your Fertility: Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Planning and More

Boost Your Fertility: Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Planning and More

Do medications need to be stopped when planning pregnancy or when a woman becomes pregnant?

Part of pregnancy planning involves attention to underlying or pre-existing medical conditions that may affect a woman's pregnancy. Women who take regular medications should review their medication schedule (including any over-the-counter medications or supplements) with their doctor when planning to conceive. Some medications may be harmful to the fetus, while other drugs are safe for pregnant women. It may be necessary to discontinue certain medications or change to alternate medications in some cases. For example, the acne medication isotretinoin (Accutane) has been shown to cause birth defects in the fetus.

In some cases the effects of a particular medication may be unclear in pregnant women. In these cases a decision must be made regarding the necessity of the medication for the mother's health versus possible or unknown risks to the fetus.

Women taking oral contraceptives who become pregnant are not believed to be at any increased risk for poor outcomes, although the oral contraceptives should be discontinued immediately.

It is safe for women who become ill during pregnancy to be treated with many medications; however, some medications, including some antibiotics and pain relief medicines, may not be recommended for pregnant women. It is important if you require medication to tell your doctor that you may be pregnant or are trying to conceive.


American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Air Travel During Pregnancy.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Pregnancy.

FDA. Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know. June 2014.

Medscape. Common Pregnancy Complaints and Questions.

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United States. Pan American Health Organization. "Zika Virus Infection." <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016

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  • Pregnancy Planning - Lifestyle Changes

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