Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

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Medications to avoid during pregnancy are categorized by the Food and Drug Administration as levels C, D and X, but levels A and B are generally safe to take during pregnancy. Find medications categorized in the A and B fields while pregnant with helpful information from a certified nurse-midwife in this free video on pregnancy.

Part of the Video Series: Pregnancy Information
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Video Transcript

What medications are OK in pregnancy? Just about anything you inhale or take into your mouth crosses your placenta. This is Mavis Schorn, I'm a nurse midwife from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and I'm going to try to help you discern a little bit about how to handle that question about medications. Now the ideal thing is to have that conversation with your midwife or physician before you ever get pregnant. You may have a health condition that requires medication and perhaps there's another medication that would be better during pregnancy and making that switch before you ever conceive is the way to go. If you need a medication during pregnancy, then we kind of look at the type of medications, what's safe in pregnancy and what's not. And you may have heard of categories, drug categories, they are the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration categorizes medications according to their safety in pregnancy from an A, B, C, D and X. A and B is considered pretty safe in pregnancy. Those are things like Tylenol and some other medications. C means it's probably OK, but we don't have enough studies to know for sure. D has shown some harm to babies so we really do not use D and X also we know causes harm and they're never used in pregnancy. So if there's a choice between say an antihistamine that you need to use in pregnancy, if it's a B versus a C antihistamine, you would prefer the one that's categorized a B. So that may be something that you can work with your provider about when you're trying to sort out those medications. Now if you're on medication, that maybe your provider doesn't know about or you're a little embarrassed about, maybe you're using prescription drugs that were not prescribed for you or you're using any kind of illegal drugs, those are very important to disclose to your health care provider. Those do impact your pregnancy and depending on the type of drug or medication it is, then your provider can help you with that. The earlier in pregnancy the better. Do remember that herbs are medications, just as chemically derived medications, some are safe in pregnancy, some are not. Many have not been tested in pregnancy. So there are no categories, the FDA does not regulate herbs so there are not those categories that I talked about for herbs and before taking any herb, just like any other medication, check with your health care provider.

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