Use of medications during pregnancy
Some medications can be used safely during pregnancy, while others should be avoided. To find out whether a medication is safe to use during pregnancy, speak with your health care provider.
Certain medications are associated with the following:
- An increased risk of birth defects, which varies according to:
- The drug
- The dosage
- The length of time the medication is taken
- The period of pregnancy during which the medication is taken
- An effect on the course of the pregnancy
- For example, premature delivery, stunted growth, or miscarriage
- Side effects in the baby at birth
- Primarily associated with the use of certain medications during the final weeks of pregnancy
Use of natural health products during pregnancy
Natural health products are readily available. As with medications, some natural health products can have a serious impact on your baby and your pregnancy.
Herbal teas and essential oils contain various fruits, plants, and spices. Some products are not recommended during pregnancy.
Taking a multivitamin that contains folic acid is recommended from 2 to 3 months before the start of pregnancy until 4 to 6 weeks after birth, or until you stop breastfeeding.
Talk to your pharmacist before using any natural health product, herbal tea, or essential oil.
Vaccination during pregnancy
Certain vaccines are recommended during pregnancy, including the following shots:
- Influenza (flu)
- Whooping cough
Some vaccines are not advised during pregnancy (e.g., the chickenpox vaccine). It's recommended to have an up-to-date vaccination record before you become pregnant. Talk to your health care provider to find out whether your immunizations are current.
Use of other products during pregnancy
Some consumer products can have an effect on pregnancy and your unborn child. Some of these should be avoided altogether, while others can be consumed in moderation.
| Avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to many malformations and complications.
The amount of alcohol that is safe for fetal development is unknown.
| Limit caffeine intake to 300 mg daily (equivalent to 3 cups of coffee).
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola-type soft drinks, and chocolate.
| Do not consume cannabis during pregnancy.
Cannabis can cause stunted growth and increases the risk of premature birth.
|Do not use recreational drugs during pregnancy.
|Sweeteners (sugar alternatives)
| Do not use sweetening agents as a replacement for table sugar.
The amount found in gum or soft drinks should not be harmful during pregnancy.
| Do not smoke while pregnant.
Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can lead to stunted growth and several complications.
If you need support to stop using any of these substances, talk to your health care provider.
Common health problems during pregnancy
Some ailments can be treated without medication. If these measures are ineffective or insufficient, don't hesitate to speak to your health care provider.
|Heartburn - reflux
|Pain - Backache - Headache
|Cough - Nasal congestion
Use of medications while breastfeeding
Medications that are not recommended during breastfeeding are not always the same as those that are not recommended during pregnancy. Certain medications can:
- Be transferred to the baby through breast milk and cause adverse effects
- Decrease milk production and make breastfeeding more difficult
Fortunately, breastfeeding rarely has to be interrupted because of a medication. Some medications are also better treatment choices than others. Talk to your pharmacist to find out whether a medication is safe to use while breastfeeding.