by Melissa D. Jaramillo
These days, more women are waiting until later in life to experience pregnancy. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, you no longer need to have a child before the age of 35. Instead, there are now ways for you to have a baby in your early 40s without having to worry about many of the complications women in the past experienced. However, having a child at an older age means you may have both pregnancy symptoms and a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes, lupus or depression. That may leave you wondering: what medications are safe to take while pregnant?
Recently, Slate magazine reported on a study from the U.K. which found that at least 10 percent of pregnant women in the U.K. have a chronic condition that they have to take medications for, and 40 percent of pregnant women take a prescription drug while they are pregnant. While this may seem like a high statistic, consider the U.S. numbers. According to the news source, 64 percent of American women take a prescription medication during their pregnancy.
The news source explained that there are many unknowns when it comes to medications and pregnant women. This is because pharmaceutical companies are usually not willing to test medications on pregnant women because there are so many legal and ethical issues that surround using pregnant women as test subjects. Furthermore, pregnancy only lasts nine months which is a short time to conduct a study. This is why many pregnant women end up taking medications that are not specifically approved for them.
According to Slate, this lack of testing has led to problems for pregnant women and their doctors. They have to make the decision of whether to stop medications they may need, or risk hurting their unborn child. However, women who stop taking their medications may be putting themselves at risk. The news source cited a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology which found that 30 percent of women with asthma reduced or stopped their asthma medications during their pregnancy. This could have led to them experiencing severe asthma complications while pregnant.
"The bottom line is that what we have is a really unfair circumstance. We don't have as much evidence as we would like in medicine generally, but there is something profoundly wrong when we have one group in the population that has to be managed with far less evidence than anybody else," Ruth Faden, co-founder of the Second Wave Initiative, a project that promotes the responsible inclusion of pregnant women in biomedical research, told Slate.
According to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should not stop or start taking any kind of medication they need without consulting a doctor if you're pregnant. Furthermore, if you're planning on trying to get pregnant you should talk to your doctor about what medications you're currently on so he or she can tell you if you should stop taking them in order to increase your chances of conceiving.
You need to remember that while you're pregnant it's important for you to be concerned about the health of your baby, but you need to keep your own well-being in mind as well. If you need a medication to treat a chronic condition, you shouldn't be too quick to stop taking it the second you find out your pregnant. Keep in mind that a healthy moms have healthy babies, and be sure to talk to your doctor.
Did you take any medications while pregnant? How did everything turn out? Leave your story here!