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Using Medicines During Pregnancy

Should Some Medicines Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

Many medicines shouldn't be used during pregnancy, but others are safe. Even common OTC medicines (those you can buy in stores without a prescription) may not be OK during pregnancy because of their potential effects on the baby. Some prescription medicines also may harm a developing fetus. The type of harm depends on the kind of medicine.

And while they may seem harmless, herbal remedies and supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means that they don't have to follow any safety standards and so could be harmful to an unborn baby.

What Can Help Prevent Problems?

To make sure you don't take anything that could put your baby at risk, talk to your doctor about:

  • medicines you already take (prescription and OTC) and ask which are safe to take during pregnancy
  • any concerns you have about natural remedies, supplements, and vitamins

Also, tell all your health care providers that you're pregnant so they'll keep that in mind when recommending or prescribing any medicines. If you were prescribed a medicine before your pregnancy for an illness, disease, or condition that you still have, your doctor can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of continuing your prescription now.

If you become sick (for example, with a cold) or have symptoms that cause you discomfort or pain (like a headache or backache), talk to your doctor about medicines you can take and other ways to help you feel better without medicine. 

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: Jan 1, 2023

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