What Medication Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy

Being pregnant can be challenging. There are so many do’s and don’ts when it comes to healthy, long-term pregnancies and so many things which a pregnant woman cannot put into her body. Taking medication during pregnancy becomes tricky as many medications can cause negative side effects and harm to the foetus. Below we have a quick rundown of the most common medications to avoid.

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Over-The-Counter Meds

Some over-the-counter meds may cause birth defects in babies. Although we may not think twice about taking them normally, here are some common ones to avoid while pregnant:

  • Bismuth subsalicylate which is anti-indigestion medication. This is particularly important as some indigestion medication is safe, and in fact, recommended, however, Bismuth subsalicylate is not.
  • Phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine. These are both decongestants. Avoid these during the first trimester completely and use sparingly if absolutely necessary in the last two trimesters.
  • Guaifenesin which can be found in common cough and cold meds.
  • Ibuprofen and aspirin, which form part of a large group of pain meds, and name brands such as Advil and Aleve should be avoided. Although these are not highly dangerous, rather not take them.
  • Codeine can be found in many pain meds, as well as some children’s medications, and should be avoided at all costs.

Consult Your Doctor When It Comes To Prescription Medication

Prior to falling pregnant, some women take daily medication for different ailments and illnesses and need to consult their doctor as soon as possible when finding out they’re pregnant. While doctors will always prescribe pregnancy-safe medications, it’s beneficial to know the avoidable ones as well. Those avoidable prescription medications are:

  • Certain acne medications such as Accutane are highly likely to cause birth defects. This should be stopped as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. If trying to conceive, stop acne medication months in advance.
  • Blood pressure meds such as benazepril and lisinopril should be avoided. Although some blood pressure medication may be prescribed to avoid preeclampsia, you need to confer with your doctor as to which ones will work for you and which ones are safe. Any ACE inhibitors should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
  • Some seizure meds may need to be stopped if possible. These include valproic acid, but again you need to consult with your doctor regarding this chronic medication.
  • Antibiotics including doxycycline and tetracycline should never be taken when pregnant. Some antibiotics are safe for use during pregnancy, but must never be used without your medical practitioner’s advice.
  • Methotrexate which is arthritis medication is a definite no-no when pregnant.
  • Warfarin prevents blood clots and must be avoided. One does not want thinned blood during pregnancy due to the risk of bleeding out. If you are on Warfarin for a life-threatening disorder and fall pregnant, consult your doctor immediately.
  • Lithium is a bipolar and depression medication and while it is advised to not stop all mood stabilizers, contact your doctor to find out which are safe for continued use during pregnancy.
  • Alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium) are both anxiety and depression medication and deemed unsafe for pregnancy. As with Lithium above, medical advice needs to be sought in order to remain on certain mood stabilisers.

Seek Professional Advice

All medications need to prescribed by your doctor before being taken when you are pregnant. The list of medications to avoid during pregnancy can differ depending on your circumstances. Do not hesitate to contact our doctor’s rooms today to receive the best care during your pregnancy. Book an appointment to discuss what is best for you and your baby.