From the moment you get the happy news—that you’re an expectant parent—your priority is doing what’s best for your child. An important part of keeping a growing baby healthy during pregnancy is learning which medications are safe to take.
While we’d all like to remain drug free whilst pregnant, there can be many reasons why you may need some form of medication. Deciphering which medications are safe for pregnant women to take can be daunting.
Birth defects occur in 3 to 5 out of every 100 pregnancies. This is called the background rate. Drugs considered safe during pregnancy are those that are not believed to increase the risk of birth defects.
It’s important to note: You should not take any medication (even one listed in the resource link) without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. Everyone’s health situation is different. If you have any of the health issues below while pregnant, or while you’re trying to become pregnant, a medical professional will be able to recommend the best treatment plan for your specific circumstances.
Some of the types of conditions woman may need to take over-the-counter or prescription medications during pregnancy include the below:
Whilst most common during the first trimester, many women experience bouts of nausea and vomiting known as morning sickness throughout their whole pregnancy.
Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time, day or night.
Whilst there is definitely no cure to morning sickness some of these activities can definitely help:
- Eat small amounts regularly
- Drink lots of water
- Eat early when you wake up
- Have a late night snack before bed
- Take a pre-natal supplement to assist with any nutrients you might have lost.
- Try Sea-Band wristlets.
What anti-nausea medications are safe during pregnancy?
Safe anti-nausea medications during pregnancy include the prescription drug Zofran (ondansetron) and the over-the-counter supplement vitamin B6—among others.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure in pregnancy is a common medical problem that usually disappears once the baby is born.
In some cases, it can signal a serious condition called pre-eclampsia.
Your blood pressure is a measure of how strongly your blood pushes against the walls of the blood vessels. It’s normally recorded in 2 numbers: the top one (systolic) is the pressure when the heart is pumping, and the bottom one (diastolic) is the pressure in between each beat.
When you are pregnant, you are considered to have high blood pressure when the top number is 140 or more or the bottom number is 90 or more (described as “140 over 90”). High blood pressure is sometimes called hypertension.
Seek medical attention urgently if you have high blood pressure in pregnancy along with:
- a severe headache
- blurred vision
- sudden swelling of the face, hands and feet
- a pain in your upper abdomen (just below the ribs)
What blood pressure medications are safe during pregnancy?
Safe blood pressure medications during pregnancy include prescription drugs categorized as beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics.
Many women may have existing anxiety conditions and going off their medication whilst pregnant is simply not an option.
As many as thirty per cent of pregnant women will experience some level of anxiety whilst pregnant. A smaller number of women will have more severe symptoms and will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Some women will develop symptoms for the first-time during pregnancy. Some symptoms will worsen with pregnancy.
Symptoms that are common to anxiety include:
- worry, stress or being on edge most of the time
- muscle tension and difficulty staying calm
- difficulty sleeping
- recurring worrying thoughts that will not go away
- panic attacks.
What anxiety medications are safe during pregnancy?
While there is a small possibility of birth defects associated with the use of SSRIs, the medical community generally considers SSRIs safe during pregnancy. Certain SSRIs, like paroxetine, may be more high-risk than others. As always, patients should consult their doctor to make sure their SSRI medications are safe.
It's normal to have trouble sleeping at any point during pregnancy, but many moms experience insomnia more frequently starting in the second to third trimesters, as other pregnancy symptoms increase and a burgeoning baby belly makes it harder than ever to get comfortable in bed.
Can I prevent insomnia during pregnancy?
You don't have to take insomnia lying down. Try the following tips to summon the sandman:
- Wean off the screen at least an hour before bed.
- Work it out with some exercise and even some sexercise, the great type of exercise.
- Download a sleep app, as there are hundreds of them.
- Clear up your emotional slate by talking with a friend of family about how your feeling.
- Create a relaxing environment with some of your favourite scents, particularly lavender can help aid sleep.
What's safe to take for insomnia during pregnancy?
Some sleep aids are often considered safe for occasional use in pregnancy, and among over-the-counter drugs, the antihistamine Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is considered low risk for pregnant women and developing babies.
There aren’t any completely safe prescription options. Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) is sometimes prescribed during pregnancy, as it has the least definite association with birth defects. However, there is a risk associated with the use of Ambien in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Sometimes, doctors recommended taking a magnesium supplement to combat constipation or leg cramps. If that's the case for you, it makes sense to take it before bed, since magnesium has been touted for its natural muscle- relaxing powers and may help lull you to sleep.
Before taking any pain medication during pregnancy, please consult your doctor or seek medical advice.
For an in-depth explanation of all drugs that are safe to take during pregnancy please see this link at Singlecare.