Did Santa bring an extra surprise this season? Are you carrying a bundle of joy?
Even if it’s too early to tell family and friends about your pregnancy, it’s not too early to take care of yourself. A key part of taking care of yourself and your new little one is making sure that any medications you take during your pregnancy (prescription or over the counter) are safe and not TERATROGENIC.
TERATROGENIC means that the substance can go past the placenta and enter into your developing baby.
It is best to see your obstetrician right away and to get clear advice as to which medications are considered safe and which contain a risk.
The following are just some of the drugs that are known to cause birth defects:
- Antibiotics: While penicillins, cephalosporins and erythormycin are considered relatively safe, tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, ciprofloxacin, and other antibiotics can cause birth defects when taken by a pregnant woman.
- Benzodiazepines: Tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety drugs can cause problems in newborns including breathing, temperature regulation, and muscle problems.
- Accutane and related dermatological drugs: Accutane poses an extremely serious risk of birth defects or death. This drug should never be used by a pregnant woman under any circumstances. Soriatane is also a dermatological drug that is extremely harmful to a developing fetus, and should not be used by any woman for three years prior to conception.
- NSAIDS: Aspirin and other drugs in the same family (salicylates) can cause birth complications and birth defects when used late in pregnancy.
- Paxil: In 2005, the FDA warned that Paxil can double the risk of heart birth defects when used during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Prozac: In 2006, a major study found that Prozac also doubled the risk of delivering a child with the birth defect PPHN (Primary Pulmonary Hypertension).
- SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are capable of harming the fetus, particularly when taken in the 1st trimester. Symptoms of this harm have included irritability, agitation, nasal congestion, diarrhea and some tumors.
It is the duty of the health care professional to weigh the risks of untreated depression on the part of the mother against the dangers of the prescribed medication.
- Anti-cancer drugs: Teratogens such as aminopterin, Bulsulfan, Chlorambucil, Cyclophosphamide, Mercaptopurine, and Methotrexate can cause serious birth defects including cleft palate, underdevelopment, other physical defects and mental retardation.
- Anti-seizure medications: Anticonvulsants such as Toprimate and Valproate, as well as phenytoin, calproic acid and trimethadione. These can cause serious birth defects including spina bifida, organ deformities, cleft palate, microcephaly and facial defects. Pregnant mothers with epilepsy need specialized care, and may require a change in medication for the duration of the pregnancy.
- Blood-thinning drugs, like Warfarin can cause mental retardation as well as vision problems in babies.
- Certain thyroid medications
- Sex hormones (androgens, estrogens and DES) have caused damage to sexual organs.
- Blood pressure drugs. Drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors) have been documented to cause problems in pregnancy. ACE inhibitors can stunt the fetus’ growth and cause kidney problems and even death.
- Asthma medications
- Live Vaccines
If you are concerned that you may have been prescribed a medication that is unsafe to take during your pregnancy, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. We are happy to help you make such a determination.