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Medicine and Pregnancy

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Pregnancy is an exciting time. However, it can also be a scary time if you are not sure how your medicines will affect your baby. Not all medicines are safe to take when you are pregnant. Even aspirin or ibuprofen could cause problems if you take it during the last 3 months of your pregnancy.  

Here are 4 tips to help you learn more about how prescription and over-the-counter medicines might affect you and your baby.

1. Ask Questions.

Always talk to your healthcare provider before you take any medicines, herbs, or vitamins. Don't stop taking your medicines until your healthcare provider says that it is OK.

Use these questions:

  • What should I do if I want to get pregnant? Pregnant Woman talking to her female doctorBefore you get pregnant, work with your doctor to make a plan to help you safely use your medicines.
  • How might this medicine affect my baby? Ask about the benefits and risks for you and your baby.
  • What medicines should I avoid? Some drugs can harm your baby during different stages of your pregnancy. At these times, your doctor may have you take something else.
  • Will I need to take more or less of my medicine? Your heart and kidneys work harder when you are pregnant. This makes medicines pass through your body faster than usual.
  • What kind of vitamins should I take? Ask about special vitamins for pregnant women. Do not take regular vitamins. They may have too much or too little of the vitamins that you need. Also ask about how much folic acid you should take before you become pregnant through the first part of your pregnancy. Folic acid helps to prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain or spine.
  • Can I keep taking this medicine when I start breastfeeding? Some drugs can get into your breast milk and affect your baby.

2. Read the Label 

Check the drug labels and other information you get with your medicine to learn about the possible risks for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The labels tell you what is known about how the drugs might affect pregnant women. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you should take the drug.

The prescription drug labels are changing. The new labels will replace the old A, B, C, D and X categories with more helpful information about a medicine's risks. The labels will also have more information on whether the medicine gets into breast milk and how it can possibly affect the baby.

3. Be Smart Online.

Double check the information you get online with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist. Some websites say that drugs are safe, but they cannot know if it safe for you. Every woman's body is different.

  • Do not trust that a product is safe just because it says 'natural'.
  • Ask before you use a product that you heard about in a chat room or group.

Know the risks. Learn how to find a safe online pharmacy.

4. Report Problems.

Tell FDA about any serious problems you have after taking a medicine.

  • Call 1-800-FDA-1088 to get a reporting form sent to you by mail.
  • Report problems online.

Sign Up for a Pregnancy Registry

Pregnancy Exposure Registries are research studies that get information from women who take prescription medicines or vaccines during pregnancy. Pregnancy registries help women and their doctors learn more about how medicines can be safely used during pregnancy.

  • Help other pregnant women. Share your experiences with medicines.
  • You will not be asked to take any new medicines.
  • You will provide information about your health and your baby's health.

FDA does not run pregnancy registries, but it keeps a list of registries. See if there is a registry for your medicine.

Page Last Updated: 11/25/2015
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