In pregnancy, the well-being of both the mother and the baby is paramount which is why it is vital to know what medications to avoid. While some medicines are safe, others pose potential risks and can affect the mother and baby. Some drugs cause complications during pregnancy. Expecting mothers should carefully review medications before use.
This article will explore five medications to avoid during pregnancy. We will explore the risks and benefits and why you should avoid them.
Anyone can buy over-the-counter medications from pharmacies, supermarkets, or health food stores. They don’t need a prescription. NSAIDs are one of such drugs. NSAIDs are one of the medications you should avoid during pregnancy. Some of these include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to relieve pain, especially in the first trimester. However, they interfere with fetal development. Taking NSAIDs in the second trimester affects kidney function. The kidney initiates amniotic fluid production at 20 weeks. Insufficient production of amniotic fluid could lead to several complications, such as:
Taking ibuprofen in the third trimester also closes the fetal ductus arteriosus prematurely. Fetal ductus arteriosus is a major blood vessel. This disrupts blood circulation, leading to fetal pulmonary hypertension and other heart defects.
It is best to avoid OTC medicines during your pregnancy unless where necessary. Also, you can discuss alternative pain management options with your doctor.
ACE inhibitors are another medication to avoid during pregnancy. These inhibitors helps to treat cardiovascular conditions like hypertension and heart failure. Drugs like Lisinopril (e.g., Prinivil) and Enalapril (e.g., Vasotec) relax the veins and arteries to lower blood pressure. Regardless of their efficacy, they are risky to use during pregnancy. NSAIDs have been implicated with pregnancy complications in the second and third trimesters. Some of these include:
If you have prenatal hypertension, consult your doctor for safer management alternatives.
Retinoids are another medication to avoid during pregnancy. These vitamin a derivatives are used to treat severe cystic acne and other dermatological conditions. While vitamin A is essential, it is harmful for pregnant women when ingested in high amounts. It is also important to note that retinoids and retinol products are similar but vary in concentration.
Retinol products contain active forms of vitamin A in lower concentrations, which may be safe during pregnancy. Topical or oral retinoid products (e.g., Accutane and Renova) contain active forms of vitamin A in higher concentrations.
The topical products pose a high risk for pregnant women. However, oral retinoids are teratogens and even more dangerous for your baby. Isotretinoin and other oral retinoids must never be ingested by women who are:
Medications containing retinoids can cause fetal retinoid syndrome (FRS). FRS is a rare condition characterized by a pattern of mental and physical congenital malformations. The severity and range associated with congenital malformations are variable and depend on the time of exposure in pregnancy. It can lead to infant malformation in up to 20% of cases of reported usage.
Taking Retinoids like isotretinoin during pregnancy increases the risk of:
Some mental and physical anomalies caused by isotretinoin include:
Medical professionals advise the use of contraceptives before using these medications. This applies especially to women of childbearing age. Discuss alternative acne treatments with your dermatologist.
Tetracycline is one of the medications to avoid during pregnancy. It is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections and other infectious diseases. However, tetracycline affects the maternal and fetal health during pregnancy. High doses of intravenous tetracycline in the third trimester cause hepatotoxicity. Tetracycline can induce fatty liver disease in pregnant women. This can result in severe hepatic dysfunction, acute liver failure, and eventual death.
Using tetracyclines in the second and third trimesters discolours the unborn baby’s teeth. This discolouration prevents the enamel from growing and usually has a yellow or brown appearance. Tetracycline can also accumulate in the baby’s bones. This may affect bone growth and hardening, leading to impairment. Researchers recommend that pregnant women above 16 weeks of pregnancy should avoid tetracycline. Your healthcare provider will prescribe the medication when necessary.
Warfarin, a blood thinner, is an oral anticoagulant used to treat and prevent blood clots. It is another medication to avoid during pregnancy. One of the most popular Warfarin brands is Coumadin. It is recommended for people who have
Warfarin crosses the placental barrier and can cause bleeding in the fetus. Its use during pregnancy is commonly associated with:
Warfarin increases the risk of heavy bleeding. Pregnant women should not take it unless they have a mechanical heart valve.
Speak to your doctor immediately if:
Discuss the use of effective birth control while taking Warfarin with your doctor.
Remember, every pregnancy is unique. What may be safe for one person may be unsafe for another. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medications during pregnancy. They will provide advice based on your medical history and the risks of each drug. Together, you can make informed decisions that promote you and your baby’s well-being especially by knowing medications to avoid during pregnancy