You need to continue taking thyroid medication throughout pregnancy. Thyroid hormone
is made in the thyroid gland, which is found in the neck. It affects
your entire body and is important to your metabolism. Thyroid hormone
can affect your ability to get pregnant.
Thyroxin (medication for a low-thyroid or
hypothyroid condition) can be taken safely during pregnancy.
Propylthiouracil (medication for a high-thyroid or hyperthyroid
condition) passes to the baby; you will probably be given the lowest
amount possible during pregnancy.
Accutane (isotretinoin) is a common acne treatment. Do not
take it if you are pregnant! A woman taking Accutane during the first
trimester of pregnancy is at greater risk of miscarriage and birth
defects in baby.
Retin-A (tretinoin) is a medication used
to relieve minor wrinkling in the facial area. We don’t know its
effects on the fetus, so it’s probably best to avoid Retin-A during
Occasionally steroid cream is prescribed
for a skin condition. Before using it during pregnancy, discuss it with
your healthcare provider. You may be able to use a safer preparation.
Tetracycline, an antibiotic, is often
prescribed for skin problems. During pregnancy, avoid all tetracycline!
Use of the drug during pregnancy can cause discoloration of your baby’s
permanent teeth later in life (one of the reasons tetracyclines should
not be prescribed for children under age 8).
Other Prescription Medications
Some medications, such as Valium, Librium and Tranxene, are safe to use during pregnancy but should be prescribed only if absolutely necessary. As with any substance, don’t take anything without consulting your healthcare provider.
If you have a headache bad enough to be
considered a migraine, call your healthcare provider before you take
anything for it. Before pregnancy, you may have been taking Imitrex for
migraines; it is given by injection or in pill form. Avoid it during
pregnancy; we do not know yet whether it is safe.
Common medications used for blood clots or phlebitis, called anticoagulants,
are heparin and Coumadin. Heparin doesn’t cross the placenta, so it is
safe to use during pregnancy. It’s administered by injection or I.V.
Don’t use Coumadin during pregnancy because it may cause significant
problems in the fetus or newborn.
Before you take a
medication for a common malady, such as a headache or indigestion, try
a nonmedication approach. For example, you might treat a headache with
a cold compress or by resting in a dark room. Prevent indigestion by
avoiding foods that trigger it, eating smaller meals and eating slowly.
Many asthma medications are OK to use
during pregnancy. Inhalers, such as Proventil, are safe. For an asthma
attack, your healthcare provider may prescribe prednisone; it is
approved for use during pregnancy. Primatene Mist is not recommended.
Medicines to treat anemia can be
important during pregnancy and are safe to use. These medications
contain iron, which may cause side effects such as constipation, nausea
or upset stomach.
Pregnancy is not the time to use any
type of diet pill. Avoid prescription diet pills during pregnancy
because they have not been proved safe. If you’re taking diet pills
when you find out you’re pregnant, stop taking them immediately!
Many people, not just pregnant women,
hold the false belief that medications they can buy without a
prescription (over-the-counter medicine) are harmless. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Carelessness with over-the-counter preparations
could harm you and your developing baby.
Use caution when you take any
over-the-counter (OTC) medication during pregnancy. Many OTCs contain
aspirin, caffeine, alcohol or phenacetin, all of which should be
avoided during pregnancy. For example, some OTC antidiarrheal
medications contain aspirin. Cough syrups may contain as much as 25%
alcohol (that’s 50 proof!).
Use medications that contain ibuprofen
with care; brand-name ibuprofen medications include Advil, Motrin and
Rufen. Avoid Aleve (naprosyn) and Orudis (ketoprofen) until we know
more about their safety during pregnancy. Read package labels, and talk
with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking anything.
Medical experts believe category-C
medications are safe to use during pregnancy. If you use any of these
medications, check with your healthcare provider about continuing to
use them. He or she will determine whether you should use the
medication during pregnancy. Some Category-C medications you may use
include acetaminophen, antacids, benzoyl peroxide, beta-adrenergic
antagonists, cephalosporins, chlorpromazine, clindamycin, codeine
(short term), corticosteroids, cotrimoxazole, cough lozenges, cromolyn,
dextromethorphan, dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine, doxylamine plus
pyridoxine, erythromycin, fluoxetine, haloperidol, hydralazine,
ipratropium, methyldopa, nitrofurantoin, penicillin, propylthiouracil.
rantidine and tricyclic antidepressants.
Avoid cold remedies that contain iodine.
It can cause serious thyroid problems in baby. If you regularly take
Airborne to prevent colds when you aren’t pregnant, it may be a good
idea to skip it during pregnancy. It hasn’t been tested on pregnant
women. Be careful with antacids—they can interfere with iron absorption.
You may become constipated at some point
during pregnancy and need a laxative. If you find a laxative is
necessary for more than 2 or 3 days, contact your healthcare provider.
He or she may advise you to make dietary changes to help with the
Some medications for diarrhea are safe
during pregnancy. Imodium is OK to use, but most healthcare providers
recommend avoiding the pink bismuth-type preparations during pregnancy.
If you have bloody diarrhea or diarrhea that lasts longer than a few
days, contact your healthcare provider.
Don’t overuse any product during pregnancy.
You can get too much of a good thing. Your healthcare provider will not
be angry or upset if you call the office with a question about a
medication. It’s much easier to answer a question and solve a potential
problem about a medication before you take it.