SAFE MEDICATIONS DURING PREGNANCY


 
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When you are pregnant, it is even more important to take good care of yourself than you usually do, as you have to look after yourself as well as the little one who is growing inside your womb. 


However, due to pregnancy, you may feel a lot of symptoms which are normal for the physiological changes you are going through. Headaches, nausea, insomnia, itchiness, vomiting, and diarrhea are just a few of them. Additionally like any other women, you may get infections presenting with a cough, cold, fever and can have manifestations of various forms of allergies. Normally, over the counter as well as prescription medicines and antibiotics are safely used by the treating physicians to counter such conditions but if you are pregnant, your choices of medications safe for you and your baby are limited which you should know well.


The first thing to bear in mind in this regard is that the first trimester (three months) of pregnancy is the most crucial one as most of the organ development of the baby takes place during this period and medications having the potential to cause fetal abnormalities are most dangerous to be used during this period. Another thing you need to know is that not all pregnancies are planned and you may get pregnant anytime without you knowing that you are. As it has already been told that the first trimester is the most sensitive period of pregnancy, you should always exercise caution in taking over the counter medication as well as prescription medicine if you are missing your periods for a while. In cases you take regular medication for a chronic condition, you should be extra cautious in this regard too. 


Now that you know the importance of safe medication during pregnancy, which medicines are actually totally safe to use during pregnancy without giving a second thought? A general rule for this is that over the counter (OTC) medicines should be avoided at all costs unless absolutely necessary. However, antenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor including folic acid preparations are safe enough not to interfere adversely with your pregnancy. 


A number of medicines and home remedies have been demonstrated to ensure adequate safety in the variety of conditions we have named above. For an upset stomach and heartburn, head elevation while sleeping coupled with the use of a liquid antacid preparation like Gaviscon is considered safe. For nausea and vomiting, pharmaceutical preparations including vitamin B6 (100 mg) preparations and drugs like Emetrex and Navidoxine are helpful and safe. For a cough, colds, and flu, the best remedy is to use honey and lemon in hot water, inhale steam and saline nasal drops or sprays. If these do not help, Paracetamol tablets are considered adequately safe to consume. However, NSAIDs like Ibuprofen should not generally be taken as first-line therapy for fever and cold during pregnancy and their use should be restricted to cover the failure of Paracetamol only and that too under the supervision of your doctor. Same holds true for managing headaches, backaches and generalized aches and pains. Constipation during pregnancy can be managed by adjusting yourself to a high fibre diet, increased water intake coupled with light physical activity. However, if this does not help, it is safe to use laxatives like Milk of Magnesia, Senekot, Citrucil or Colace. Diarrhea should be managed using Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and if necessary, Imodium tablets may be used but only for 12 hours and after the 12th week of pregnancy.  If you suffer from haemorrhoids, you can use a hydrocortisone (steroid) ointment locally for pain relief. Medicated pads are also relatively safe for use. Insomnia is common during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. It is advised that sleep hygiene practices may be exercised without resorting to the use of anxiolytics and sleep medications as they are not generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. 


To conclude, although some medications as described above are considered generally safe for use during pregnancy, your goal to manage the sign and symptoms described above should be through the use of home remedies and traditional measures as no drug is 100% safe during pregnancy.

Furthermore, you and your physician should always weigh the benefits of a drug against the risks it entails to make the decision

 
 

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