Navigating the Drug World During Pregnancy: What to Avoid

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Pregnancy is a time of great change for a woman’s body and it is important to ensure that any medications taken during this time are safe for both the mother and the developing fetus. Many commonly used medications have been found to have adverse effects on a developing fetus, and it is important to be aware of these potential risks.

This article will discuss some commonly used medicines that should not be taken during pregnancy and why they pose a risk.

Pain Relievers

Pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) should be avoided during pregnancy. These medications can increase the risk of miscarriage and other pregnancy complications, such as premature closure of the ductus arteriosus (a blood vessel in the fetus) and low amniotic fluid levels.

The use of NSAIDs during pregnancy was linked to a heightened risk of miscarriage, with a 59% increase observed in this population. Out of the women who took NSAIDs, a substantial portion, nearly 25%, experienced a miscarriage during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

On the other hand, Tylenol (Acetaminophen), a widely used medication for reducing fever and relieving pain, has been linked to the development of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and other neurodevelopmental disorders in children whose mothers took the drug during pregnancy.

If you or someone you know used Tylenol or Acetaminophen during pregnancy, you can file a Tylenol Autism ADHD Lawsuit. Based on previous outcomes in similar cases, it is estimated that the potential Tylenol autism lawsuit settlement amounts could range from $50,000 to $500,000, depending on the strength of the claim.


The use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil for the treatment of depression is common. However, taking these medications during pregnancy has been linked to an elevated risk of birth defects and complications including premature birth and low birth weight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that research indicates that some birth defects occur at a higher frequency, roughly two to three times, among infants born to mothers who took certain SSRI medications early in their pregnancy.

Therefore, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss alternative treatment options with their doctor.


Antihistamines such as Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton are commonly used to treat allergies, but they can cross the placenta and may cause drowsiness in the fetus. This drowsiness can lead to developmental issues in the fetus, and it is recommended to avoid the use of these medications during pregnancy.


Pregnant women should avoid retinoids such as Accutane and Tazorac, which are known to cause birth defects.

The consumption of synthetic vitamin A (retinoids), specifically isotretinoin (Accutane), by a mother during pregnancy can negatively impact the developing embryo and fetus.

A variety of birth defects as well as an increased risk of miscarriage are associated with this. It is estimated that there is a 35% chance of fetal retinoid syndrome in infants born to mothers who take isotretinoin after the 15th day of conception.

Cough And Cold Medicines

Most cough and cold medicines have not been well studied in pregnancy, and their safety has not been established. In pregnancy, Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant, should not be taken since it can cross the placenta and cause developmental problems. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss alternative treatment options with their doctor.

Herbal Supplements

Many women turn to herbal supplements during pregnancy as they believe they are a natural and safe alternative to prescription medications. However, it is important to remember that herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA and their safety and effectiveness have not been established.

Some herbal supplements have been found to have harmful effects on a developing fetus and should be avoided during pregnancy. Examples include ginseng, ephedra, and kava. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should discuss the use of herbal supplements with their doctor.


Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and valproic acid (Depakote) are commonly used to treat seizures, but they can cause birth defects and developmental issues in the fetus.

Alternative treatment options should be discussed with a doctor by pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant. In some cases, the benefits of taking anticonvulsants during pregnancy may outweigh the risks, but it is important to have a thorough discussion with a doctor before making any decisions.

In conclusion, it is important for women to be informed about the medicines they should avoid during pregnancy.

Women should also be aware that not all medicines have been studied during pregnancy, and it is always best to err on the side of caution and avoid any medication unless it is absolutely necessary and has been approved by a doctor. By being informed and taking steps to ensure the safety of their pregnancy, women can help ensure the health and well-being of both themselves and their developing fetus.

Image Source – Pixabay

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