Pregnancy brings many joys and lots of different emotions, but one thing it doesn’t stop is the chance of a mom-to-be becoming sick.
Even when someone is pregnant they’re still likely to get headaches, fevers and flu bugs.
The problems arise when medications or pain relief are needed to combat symptoms of everyday ailments, as many of the drugs taken to combat illnesses can present problems for pregnant women, in terms of their own health and the health of their unborn child.
Which are best totally avoided? Here, we’re going to examine the medicines you should always avoid in pregnancy and the reasons why.
Many common antibiotics that are safe to take at any other time are not safe to take during pregnancy as they can cause illness in the unborn fetus, or in some cases, birth defects.
Some are safe, and those that are considered to cause less risk of harm include Penicillins (such as Amoxicillin and Ampicillin), Cephalosporins and Erythromycin
Antibiotics that should be completely avoided during pregnancy include Streptomycin as this could potentially cause hearing loss in your baby.
Tetracycline (including Minocycline, Oxytetracycline, and Doxycycline), which are used to treat acne and respiratory infections.
Chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin) injections should also be avoided. They can cause serious blood disorders.
Similarly, Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin could cause problems with the baby’s muscle and skeletal growth. They can also contribute to joint pain and nerve damage in the mother.
This list is not exhaustive and there will be other antibiotic medications that are not recommended, too. Your Doctor will be able to discuss options, should these medications be needed for any conditions you may be suffering from.
Pregnancy can, in some women, bring about increased pain. This can perhaps be caused by back or hip problems, or even from fluctuating hormones causing migraines or other types of headache.
In normal situations, we’d reach for Aspirin, Codeine or Ibuprofen to relieve suffering, but in pregnancy extra care must be taken.
Taking Codeine, for example, can lead to withdrawal symptoms in new-born babies and addiction in mothers.
High doses of Ibuprofen can cause serious problems, such as miscarriage, delayed onset of labor, haemorrhaging for both mother and baby and necrotizing enterocolitis.
Aspirin can act as a blood thinner and Doctors recommend that this pain reliever is avoided completely during pregnancy.
Other safer options for pain relief include Acetaminophen, which should still be used with caution and guidance. Always discuss any pains or aches you may have with your Midwife or Doctor, to make sure the best course of action can be taken, and be especially careful with opioids.
Unfortunately, pregnancy doesn’t render the body immune from common coughs, cold viruses and flu! If only!
It also means that common over the counter remedies we might take without a second thought, are unsafe to take. Common medications that contain Pseudoephedrine and Phenylephrine are always best avoided, as is Chlorpheniramine.
Doctors will recommend that you simply increase the amount of fluids you drink and try steam inhalation to ease breathing and chases viruses away.
If symptoms persist or a cold virus can’t be shaken off easily, it’s best to seek professional medical help and see if there are any other safe ways it can be managed.
Sometimes allergies can surface during pregnancy, whilst others that were suffered from pre-natal simply vanish. The wonders of fluctuating hormones can present all manner of challenges to a mom-to-be.
Many over the counter tablets, syrups or remedies for allergies must be avoided. Especially those that contain Brompheniramine.
There are some products that are known as ‘combination’ products, so will aim to target cold and allergies and these must be avoided too.
For example, Acetaminophen on its own, in occasional doses is fine to take with guidance. However, some Acetaminophen based products which claim to treat allergies as well will also contain Pseudoephedrine and Phenylephrine so must be avoided.
Talk to your Midwife or Doctor if allergies are becoming a nuisance during your pregnancy.
Moms to be will all at some point experience some form of stomach upset, heartburn or indigestion. It might be common in most cases to take a dose of something containing Bismuth subsalicylate, but this medication is best avoided totally during pregnancy.
Doctors will recommend that for heartburn and upset stomach during pregnancy, alterations are made to the diet and more fluids are drunk. It’s often advisable to eat little and often, rather than trying to have three large meals a day and to avoid caffeine or fatty and spicy foods.
It’s usually safe to take ordinary antacids, so long as they don’t contain any other added ingredients such as Bismuth subsalicylate.
If heartburn, indigestion or upset stomach are causing distress or are affecting your day to day life during pregnancy, then always talk to your Doctor for advice.
Every woman has a different experience during pregnancy. Whilst some experience relatively few symptoms or illnesses, other women often feel very poorly throughout and need a lot of medical care.
You must be especially careful if your pregnancy occurred while on birth control, such as in the case of the unfortunate women who filed Essure lawsuits. In this case, you must always take additional precautions and check with your doctor as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary complications.
Any pregnant woman who feels unwell or that her pregnancy is exacerbating existing symptoms of a condition is always advised to speak to her Midwife, Gynaecologist or Doctor for advice and help on medications rather than attempting to treat themselves at home.