Pregnant women often wonder which medications are safe for use during pregnancy. This question becomes even more pressing when a pregnant mother currently takes a particular medication with some frequency. When one suffers from a chronic condition, finding the answer to this question becomes critical.
In general, it is better to be cautious when taking medication during pregnancy. While some classes of drugs have been studied extensively in pregnant women, the majority have not. When these medications are labeled as to whether or not they are safe, in many cases the recommendation is little more than a guess based on small samples or laboratory animals studies only.
While no drug can be considered absolutely safe during pregnancy, there are some medications that have been studied extensively and deemed to be acceptable. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) has a decades long track record of safety in pregnant women, and is often the only thing an OB will allow for headaches. Similarly, Benadryl is often used for allergies during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are multiple medicines that are considered safe for typical pregnancy complaints, such as heartburn and constipation. Among these are Maalox, Citrucel, and Colace.
While the average woman may have little trouble getting through her pregnancy with these widely-used medications, women who suffer from certain chronic conditions often have more trouble. Migraine sufferers are vulnerable to more headaches during pregnancy because of the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies. Unfortunately, migraine drugs are typically off-limits during pregnancy. Tylenol with codeine is generally considered safe, but Triptans, the go-to drugs for many migraine sufferers, are not allowed because of insufficient study data.
For women who suffer with depression, there are several options that are considered safe during pregnancy. SSRIs are usually considered off-limits because they slightly increase the chance of miscarriage, but other classes of anti-depressants, such as tricyclics, are usually considered safe.
As with everything, if you are pregnant and on medication, discuss with your doctor whether the benefit to you outweighs the risk to your baby. In general, the less medicine you consume, the better it is for your baby, but this rule does not apply in all cases. If you suffer from a chronic pain condition of any kind, try to consider your medical course of action before your conceive. That way, your plan will already be in place when you get pregnant.
N.B. This information should not be considered medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about any medication you take.