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Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Medications Taken During Pregnancy

Written by Berkowitz

medications during pregnancyAs an expecting mother, you will be prescribed medications by your physician. While you should trust his or her medical expertise, you should also explore the risks and benefits of taking such medications during your pregnancy. While most medications prescribed have an extremely low risk to your developing child, there are some medications that can put you at higher risk for a baby with a debilitating birth defect. Therefore, you should always weigh the pros and cons, and only take medications that are absolutely necessary – or when the benefits outweigh the risks significantly.

Why are Medications Prescribed?

There are a variety of reasons why you may be prescribed medications during your pregnancy – whether it is from a urinary tract infection (which is common during pregnancy), frequent or persistent morning sickness, or even chronic migraines. Today, pregnant women are far more likely to take prescription and over-the-counter medications during their pregnancy than several years before. And, the use of medications has increased during the first trimester significantly in the United States. In some cases, prescription and over-the-counter medications are an essential component of a woman’s medical treatment – and stopping those medications during her pregnancy could become life-threatening.

There are some medications that are known to pose a danger to a pregnant woman or her unborn child. These include:

  • Acne medications
  • Blood thinners
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications
  • Ulcer drugs
  • Arthritis drugs

How Do Medications Affect My Unborn Child?

When you are pregnant, any medication that you take during the first week of pregnancy (after the egg has been fertilized), will have an all-or-nothing effect on the fetus. It may cause no harm, or it could result in a miscarriage or severe malformation. Once the egg has implanted into the womb, the concern is that the medication will be able to cross the placenta into the baby’s blood and affect development. This is especially true in the first trimester when critical components are being formed – from your baby’s heart to lungs to brain and even appendages and limbs. During the second and third trimesters, medications can still affect your baby’s growing brain – and possibly lead to social or intellectual problems later on.

Understanding the Risks

It is important that you keep all medication risks in perspective. Every woman, according to Consumer Reports, carries a three- to four-percent chance of having a baby with a defect – regardless of whether she took medications during pregnancy or not. Often, the risk is associated with a medication, but there are times when these defects occur without medications.

Was Your Child Born with a Birth Defect Due to a Medication?

While physicians should discuss the pros and cons of medications that they prescribe to their patients, often, they prescribe without informed consent. This can lead to birth defects and confusion from expectant mothers who trusted their physician’s expertise. If your child was born with a defect or your physician failed to perform his or her duty, and your child suffered an injury, contact a medical malpractice attorney in Connecticut immediately.
Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule your no-obligation consultation. Call us or contact us online to get started.