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Medication You Shouldn’t Take When Pregnant: Some Advice

From dealing with common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness to battling general illnesses like the common cold, you’ve probably wondered what medications are safe to take while pregnant. As a general rule, always ask your primary care doctor first, but here are a few words of advice from us that we think will help.

Avoid Aspirin

Unless your doctor recommends you take it for a number of medical reasons, generally steer clear of aspirin. Why? Taking high doses of this drug during your first trimester may increases your chances of a miscarriage or congenital defects. Taken during your third trimester in high doses, aspirin may also cause heart defects. What’s more, prolonged use of aspirin throughout the duration of your pregnancy may even cause brain bleeding in premature babies and further increase the chances of pregnancy loss.

Need to use a pain reliever? Ask your doctor for advice.

Be Wary About Decongestants

Phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are both decongestants, typically found in cold medicines and cough syrups, sometimes along with guaifenesin - an expectorant. If you’ve got a cold or allergies, be sure to read the active and inactive ingredients in your medicine before taking any. It’s advised to avoid medicines containing phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin during your first trimester, as they can jeopardise your baby’s development and increase the chances of birth defects.

Over-the-counter cold medicines and some allergy medicines are generally safe to take, but, again, read the ingredients or speak to a pharmacist or doctor.

Think Twice About Natural and Herbal Remedies

It’s in the name: natural remedies are natural, so they must not be harmful, right? Not quite. Some herbal remedies may be so effective and so strong that they have nearly the same power as their prescription counterparts. Some herbal remedies can thin your blood, as aspirin does, which increases your chances of bleeding. Other natural remedies may do their intended job in moderate doses, but may come with unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhoea, dizziness, and heartburn, or even far more fatal effects, such as premature labour, stroke, irregular cell division in your baby, birth defects, or even miscarriage.

Speak to your midwife or doctor before considering natural remedies.

Talk to Your Doctor About Prescription Medications

While some prescription medications can definitely be harmful during your pregnancy, it can be equally as harmful to stop the medication immediately on your own. When you stop taking prescriptions for conditions like epilepsy, seizures, diabetes, asthma, heart diseases, and others, you could be jeopardising your own health and the health of your baby. For example, stopping diabetes medication could increase the chances of birth defects, stillbirth, or even miscarriage.

While this article hasn't been put together to panic you, it does aim to make you consider what you should and shouldn't be taking. We’ve repeated this throughout this article, and we’ll say it again: always ask your doctor first. Rather than have you stop your prescription medication completely, they may just reduce the dose.

Have any questions about your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: If you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed in the products mentioned, do not consume them. Always check with your doctor before trying a new medication or regime, and if irritation or allergy occurs stop using the product or medication immediately.

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