Medications and Your Unborn Baby
Sometimes life takes us by surprise. You may not have planned to become pregnant, but now is the perfect time to begin caring for your unborn baby. Let’s explore some ways you can provide a healthy start for your child.
Healthy Habits During Pregnancy
First and foremost, you must find an obstetrician or other pregnancy healthcare provider who you trust. Ann Arbor Adoption can direct you to the appropriate resources if you feel you can not parent. For the duration of your pregnancy, you will need to have regular medical checkups to ensure that you are healthy and your unborn baby is thriving.
It is more important than ever that you eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Listen to your body’s hunger cues, and eat regular meals and snacks. Whenever you can, choose fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain carbohydrate sources like beans, and lean proteins like skinless chicken breast.
Pregnancy can be tiring throughout all three trimesters. Get adequate rest. If possible, go to bed and wake up at consistent times each day. Whenever you have the chance to catch a quick nap, take it! As contradictory as it may seem, exercise can actually help you get better sleep. If your doctor approves, aim to get in 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week.
Reduce stress as much as you are able. Take time to relax and let yourself have “the little things.” For example, you may like to fill the tub with warm water and soak your feet. You can ask a friend to paint your toenails. (This is especially helpful in the third trimester, when many expectant mothers cannot reach their toes!) Enjoy your favorite meal. Visit a location that soothes you, such as your favorite park, library, museum, or place of worship.
What to Avoid
You may already know the basics: avoid alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and risky activities like contact sports. But did you know there are some medications you should avoid during pregnancy?
Several potentially harmful and confirmed dangerous drugs during pregnancy are as follows:
Proton Pump Inhibitors – Gastric problems like acid reflux are very common in pregnant women, with 30–50% suffering from heartburn. In order to relieve this discomfort, you may reach for an over-the-counter Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) medication like Nexium, Prilosec, or Prevacid. However, know that there is insufficient research to confirm the safety of these medications during pregnancy. While they could be safe, your doctor may encourage you to use an alternative method for heartburn relief, like chewing antacid tablets or drinking a glass of milk. (Always ask your doctor before you use any medication during pregnancy, even antacid tablets.)
Retinoids – Acne medications like Accutane are among the most dangerous drugs to use during pregnancy. They can cause severe birth defects in your unborn baby. Never use oral or topical retinoid medications while you are pregnant. If you suffer from acne during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about safe ways to reduce this problem, such as non-medicated face washes.
SGLT2 inhibitors – Invokana and other SGLT2 inhibitor diabetes medicines lack adequate research to determine safety. Animal studies indicate that these medicines could impact your baby’s kidney development. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about the best way to control your blood sugar during your pregnancy. Only your doctor can decide if SGLT2 inhibitors’ benefits would outweigh their risks for you.
Some antibiotics – These powerful infection fighters should only be used with caution during pregnancy. Tetracyclines like doxycycline and minocycline should never be used while you are pregnant, since they can damage your liver and discolor your unborn baby’s teeth. Studies have shown that some other antibiotics such as trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole may cause birth defects. Always consult your doctor before using an antimicrobial.
As you continue your pregnancy, remember that your baby’s health must remain your top priority until you give birth. Whether you choose to experience the joy of parenting or the joy of adoption, you will reap the rewards of caring for your baby.
Sarah Teach regularly contributes to DrugWatch.com, along with other publications. Her natural curiosity and childhood dream of becoming a writer propelled her to earn a degree in writing, rhetoric and technical communication from James Madison University.