Not all medicines are safe to take when you are pregnant but some drugs are considered safe during pregnancy and prescribed for therapeutic reasons. Always take medicines prescribed by the doctor during pregnancy.
As a general rule, no drug should be given during pregnancy especially during the first trimester as it is the period of organogenesis. One must always be aware of the teratogenic, toxic or harmful effects of the drugs on the developing foetus.
Here is a list of 12 drugs that can be used during pregnancy are–
Folic acid is a vitamin that is involved in the process of cell growth and division. Whenever you are planning a pregnancy, it is recommended to take folic acid in a dose of 0.4 mg daily and should be continued throughout the first trimester.
Studies have shown that periconceptional folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of neural tube defects. The recommended dose is 0.4 mg daily but women at risk of neural tube defect should receive 5 mg daily.
Anaemia during pregnancy is very common and iron preparations are frequently prescribed to the woman with iron deficiency anaemia. There are many iron preparations available such as ferrous sulphate or ferrous gluconate. Some are combined with folic acid also. You may experience constipation and indigestion while taking iron tablets.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, you may experience nausea and vomiting which is quite troublesome but may occur at other times in the pregnancy. If you have mild morning sickness then you can try eating small amounts frequently and taking a dry toast in the morning.
If vomiting becomes a significant problem then it is preferable to use an antiemetic drug. Commonly used antiemetics are cyclizine, prochlorperazine and metoclopramide.
Antacids are used to reduce the acidity of stomach acid and make it alkaline. Antacids are used to relieve heartburn, indigestion and upset stomach. These drugs are mostly based on calcium, magnesium and aluminium salts which are non-absorbable. Due to their non-absorbable properties, these are safe for use in pregnancy.
Antacids such as sodium bicarbonate can cause systemic alkalosis and should be avoided during pregnancy.
Antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed groups of drugs for infection in pregnancy. While prescribing antibiotics care should be taken as some are safe and others are contraindicated.
Antibiotics that are considered safe in pregnancy are ampicillin, amoxicillin, cephalexin, cefuroxime, erythromycin and penicillin. Never take an antibiotic by yourself. It is very necessary to consult the doctor for any infection during pregnancy. Take prescribed antibiotics only.
It is relatively common for a pregnant woman to require analgesia during pregnancy for headaches or other pregnancy-related conditions. Many of the available analgesics including over the counter preparations are not considered safe in pregnancy.
Paracetamol is the only analgesic drug that is found safe during pregnancy when taken in therapeutic doses.
Analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and opiate analgesics are better to be avoided during pregnancy. Sometimes, your doctor can prescribe them for some conditions during pregnancy.
Aspirin is also an analgesic drug, can increase the risk of maternal, fetal and neonatal bleeding because of its antiplatelet (stopping blood clots from forming) effect. It is, therefore, contraindicated in pregnancy.
If you are experiencing any inflammatory disease or pre-existing disease then corticosteroids may be administered. Prednisolone is the most commonly used corticosteroid which crosses the placenta in very small quantities and is found safe for use in pregnancy.
In the case of preterm delivery, corticosteroids are given for fetal lung maturation. Betamethasone or dexamethasone are commonly used which cross the placenta in higher concentrations and are found effective. Treatment with antenatal corticosteroids is associated with a reduction in the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome.
It is mainly used in the treatment of eclampsia. It exerts its effect by acting as a cerebral vasodilator thereby reversing cerebral vasospasm and increasing cerebral blood flow. It is given intramuscularly or intravenously. Be cautious against magnesium toxicity. It is used with the prescription of the doctor only.
These drugs may be prescribed in pregnancy for pre-existing hypertension, pregnancy-induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia.
The antihypertensive drugs that may be used in pregnancy are methyldopa, propranolol, labetalol, atenolol, nifedipine and hydralazine. These drug helps to control the blood pressure and are found effective without any adverse effects on the foetus.
Drugs for Diabetes Mellitus
If you are having any pre-existing diabetes or gestational diabetes which cannot be controlled by diet then you need diabetic treatment with insulin. It is a naturally occurring hormone and available preparations of insulin include synthetic human insulin is found safe in pregnancy.
Drugs used in Asthma
The drugs commonly used in the treatment of asthma include bronchodilators such as salbutamol, salmeterol, inhaled and oral corticosteroids and theophyllines. These drugs are considered safe during pregnancy.
But in the case of acute asthmatic attack, the benefits of the medication outweigh the risks to the mother and the foetus.
These drugs are used to delay the preterm labour and delivery to improve the perinatal outcome. Commonly used tocolytics are isoxsuprine, terbutaline, magnesium sulphate, ritodrine etc. It helps in the short term delay of 48 hours.
In the above post, we have discussed the different drugs used in pregnancy. By the way, all medicines are not safe to take but some can be taken during pregnancy for therapeutic reasons.