Medications and Pregnancy: Decisions to Make with Your Doctor

Pregnancy causes a lot of excess strain on your body. If you’re living with a chronic condition and become pregnant, you can still give birth to a healthy baby. However, you may need to continue taking your medication to keep your condition in check. In other circumstances, due to severe side effects of pregnancy, medications are usually taken. Regardless of if this is Tylenol for a small headache or medications that are required to treat chronic disorders, fear tends to encompass your mind. Taking medication during pregnancy seems to go against everything that you read, but sometimes it’s necessary. To help you better assess your situation regarding medications and pregnancy, it’s important to understand how the two are related and how to make decisions with your doctor.

Some Insight on Medication Use and Pregnancy

Many people don’t realize how many pregnant women actually take medication and the numbers might surprise you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90% of women take medication at some point in their pregnancy and 70% take prescription medication. These numbers are high, but that doesn’t mean that medication use during pregnancy is necessarily safe. Unfortunately, in many situations, women put in these positions receive a lot of conflicting information regarding the safety of their medications in relation to their pregnancy.

Order Your Insurance Covered Breast Pump

The reality is that the act of taking medications during pregnancy should be decided based on individual circumstances. Many of the pharmaceuticals that are tested on pregnant women are done so in very controlled settings, not real-world environments. Although medications are given a “safety rating,” many lack enough data to conclusively indicate whether they could be harmful to a pregnancy. Therefore, deciding to take medications during pregnancy is a decision that you and your doctor need to make together.

Many women see the risk of taking medication as a major deterrent to doing so. However, not taking any medication does not necessarily mean there’s no risk. For example, if you have a chronic disease that requires medication, stopping it could be fatal or cause far more harm to your developing baby than the risk of continuing it does. There are certain guidelines for treatment in mothers with chronic conditions, but always talk to your doctor to determine the best course of action.

How to Make Good Medication Choices in Pregnancy

The best way to make safe, healthy medication choices throughout your pregnancy is to work closely with your doctor to create an effective treatment plan. This allows you to bypass confusing information on the Internet that will only cause panic. Come prepared with any questions and don’t be afraid to ask about things that might seem inconsequential.

  1. Discuss Your Options with Your Doctor

    Whether you’re thinking about getting pregnant or are already pregnant, it’s imperative that you discuss your medication options with your doctor. There are certain medications that can cause birth defects, even when taken during the first few weeks of fetal development. The sooner you speak to your doctor, the better.

    If you absolutely need to take medications while you’re pregnant, make sure that what you’re taking is as safe as possible. While there are no risk-free medications when it comes to pregnancy, there are certain ones that have scientifically backed negative effects. Remember, in the case of some health conditions, continuing without treatment may be more harmful than the medications themselves. Discuss all potential options with your doctor so you can make an educated decision on how to proceed.

  2. Find the Best Medical Care

    Chronic conditions require a unique approach to ongoing treatment. While you may have been working with your doctor for years, if they’re inexperienced in treating pregnant women with your condition, it’s beneficial to look for a specialist. This will give you peace of mind since your doctor understands the intricacies of your chronic condition and your pregnancy.

  3. Avoid Unbacked Research

    In most cases, pregnant women turn to the Internet for their first introduction into the safety of a medication in question. There are countless websites that provide lists of “safe” medications to take during pregnancy. However, many of these lists are inconsistent and some include medications that have been proven to be dangerous. If there are no scientific references or backings through a study, don’t consider the source as reputable. By continuing to read these types of sites, you’re only going to increase your anxiety and feel confused.

  4. Choose Fewer Medications

    If you don’t need to take a medication, don’t. While Tylenol is often used for headaches or body aches, try to alleviate any discomfort in other ways. Take a bath, close the covers, lie in bed, or use a cool compress. These simple acts can make a world of difference for those experiencing a headache or backpain. At the end of the day, the more medications you use, especially if you’re mixing them, the more dangerous it will be for your pregnancy.

  5. Order Your Insurance Covered Breast Pump
  6. Don’t Assume Less is Better

    As we’ve said, fewer medications are great but if you need to take something for a chronic condition, continue taking it at your prescribed dosage. Some women believe that if they take half of the prescribed dose, they’ll reduce their risk by half. However, this isn’t the case. In most situations, taking half of the dose will still increase your risk and you won’t be benefiting from the intake at all. This makes the risk pointless, and you could begin to experience side effects or symptoms of your untreated condition.

  7. Include Over-the-Counter Medications

    Over-the-counter medications are still medications and many of them are not safe for use during pregnancy. Include over-the-counter medications in your discussion with your doctor to better understand what you can take and what you absolutely need to avoid.

    One of the only over-the-counter medications that’s considered safe to take before and during pregnancy is prenatal vitamins that include folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent certain birth defects and can improve the health of your overall pregnancy. If you have questions about folic acid supplements, or prefer a recommendation from your doctor, call them prior to taking anything.

  8. Research “Natural” Options

    While the words “herbal” or “natural” may project a certain degree of safety, that’s not always the case. There are some herbal supplements that can cause problems with your pregnancy. Always discuss the safety of taking any vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies throughout the course of your pregnancy. Due to a lack of testing and quality control, many of these options have not been proven to be safe for consumption. If you’re curious, you can talk to your doctor, but for the most part it’s best to wait to resume supplements until after you’ve delivered and waned your baby off breastmilk.

  9. Undergo Additional Tests

If you need to take certain medications during your pregnancy, ask your doctor to closely monitor development and any signs of fetal problems. You can schedule extra prenatal visits, undergo more frequent ultrasounds, and even utilize several other tests to make sure that your medication isn’t causing problems. At the first sign of distress, you’ll know that the risk of taking the medication is greater than the risk of not taking it and can make a more educated decision with your doctor on how to proceed.

Pregnancy Safe Therapies to Alleviate Symptoms

If you find yourself needing treatment for a condition or to relieve some of the side effects of pregnancy, consider a few pregnancy safe therapies that are available. Always discuss participating in these therapies with your doctor to ensure that you stay within the safety guidelines of your individual pregnancy. Some pregnant women have found relief for symptoms like morning sickness, backaches, and changing the baby’s positioning with acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, exercise, and healthy eating. Monitor for any dangerous pregnancy symptoms and seek help if you experience them.

During labor, epidurals are safe and effective to use for pain relief. If you want to give birth naturally, consider practicing relaxation techniques, breathing control, and make sure you have an emotional support team there to help you along the way.

Order Your Insurance Covered Breast Pump

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. If you find yourself feeling like you need medication, always talk to your doctor before taking anything. You may need to continue sustaining from medications throughout breastfeeding, but again, this depends on your situation. To help supplement your breastfeeding journey and allow for some much-needed rest and recovery, order an insurance covered breast pump from Byram Healthcare today.