If you are a mom who is pregnant or breastfeeding, one of your major concerns would be to ascertain as to which medications are safe and which could be harmful for your baby.
It is a distinct possibility that there will be instances wherein you would want to take medications for acute infection like flu or may even consider taking a vaccine.
Cautions and Precautions
Exercise caution and make sure that the medication, supplement or vaccine does not have the potential to harm your baby.Certain medications have been proved to be harmful to the baby if taken during pregnancy:
Medications to Avoid When Pregnant
#1 Pain Relieving Medications
- To further elaborate the case in point, pain relieving medicines such as Naproxen, Ibuprofen and Aspirin are best avoided during pregnancy.
- The logic is simple; when these medications are taken during the first three months of pregnancy they can decrease the blood flow to the foetus. Thus the development of the baby is impaired and can lead to some very serious developmental defects
Conversely medications such as Aspirin are also known to increase the risk of during the process of labour or childbirth.
- Consult your healthcare provider and they will prescribe a safer alternative like acetaminophen which is considered to be safe for pregnant mothers.
- There will be times during your pregnancy when it will be important that your doctor prescribes an antibiotic to control your infection.
- It is instances such as these that antibiotics will need to be prescribed with caution.
- Some of the older antibiotics like Streptomycin and Tetracycline are best avoided during pregnancy.
- When Streptomycin is consumed by pregnant mothers, it crosses the placenta into the baby and can lead to bilateral deafness in the baby.
- Concurrently it can damage the eighth cranial nerve too, thus experts are of the opinion that it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Similar to Streptomycin, Tetracycline is yet another antibiotic which is particularly toxic, considering that it can cross into the baby leading to congenital malformation and birth defects in the baby.
It can even lead to liver damage in the pregnant mother and is hence best avoided during pregnancy.
Medications to Avoid When Breastfeeding
One of the major concerns of a lactating mother is a fear that when she takes medications she may in effect pass through her milk to the baby through breastfeeding.
Fortunately most medications do not pass through the breast milk to the baby. Those that do pass through may not harm your baby as they have no side effects.
Your doctor may advise you to breast feed your baby before taking the medication. This will in effect ensure that minimal quantities of medications are passed on to the baby, thus minimizing the possibility of harming your baby.
Some of the medications which are best avoided during breastfeeding may well include:
# 1 Variation Medications
Strengthened medications and time released capsules should be avoided.
The logic being that they continue to stay in the blood for a longer period of time and may thus may cause a higher incidence of side effects.
# 2 Antidepressants
- When a first time new mother experiences low energy levels and a feeling of depression immediately after childbirth; the condition is better known as Post-Partum Depression.
- The mother finds it difficult to take care of her baby and thus the condition needs to be treated. The preferred option is to treat with ‘Talk Therapy’.
However if she does not respond to the therapy then the doctor may advice anti – depressant medications.
- These medications can reach the baby through breast milk and lead to intense drowsiness in the baby.
- The preferred option is to opt for Paxil and Zoloft are both antidepressants which are safer compared than other antidepressants.
# 3 Cough and Cold Medications
On the contrary if you are breast feeding your baby and develop a cold opt for safer remedies and avoid medications like codeine and Pseudoephedrine.The former can cause drowsiness in the baby while Pseudoephedrine can lead to decreased secretion of breast milk.
Conversely if you have a cough which you would like to control avoid Linctus Codeine as it can cross into the baby and leads to sedation.
Thus it could well be concluded that medications that can cause increased drowsiness in the child should be avoided at all costs.Similarly medications which cause developmental defects in the child such as Thalidomide are best avoided.
The good news is that there are plenty of medicines such are safe and can be used in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers without any risk of damaging the baby.
Some of the safer options are antibiotics, asthma inhalers, normal doses of vitamin supplements and corticosteroid injections.
The cardinal rule is to avoid harmful medicines and substitute them with safer alternatives.