Epilepsy drug taken during pregnancy may reduce the IQ of children

There are many medications that are not recommended for use during pregnancy, and now one more may be added to the list - valproate. Recently, researchers concluded that women who took valproate while expecting put their children at risk of having a lower IQ by age 6, according to U.S. News and World Report. The study and the experts' conclusions were published in The Lancet Neurology.

Researchers looked at 305 women from the U.K. and U.S. who were taking medication for epilepsy during pregnancy. The IQs of their children at age 6 were between seven to 10 points lower than those who had mothers that did not take the drug while expecting.

"These results build on our earlier work to show that valproate usage during pregnancy has a significant negative effect on children's IQ, which lasts beyond their earliest years," lead author Kimford Meador, a professor in the neurology department at Emory University, told the news source.

Medications and pregnancy
Beginning in your first trimester, you should be mindful of what you put into your body. This means monitoring everything from your food choices to medications. When it comes to prescriptions, your doctor can help you decipher which medications are safe to continue taking throughout the nine months. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has little information on how medications impact fetal development and expectant mothers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For this reason, it's worth seeking information from the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, which has more information on the risks associated with taking medicine while pregnant. The National Birth Defects Prevention Study conducted by the CDC is also a helpful tool. This study can give you insight into which medications have been linked to birth defects in the past.

Over the counter cold medicine
Because your immune system isn't at full strength during pregnancy, you may be more prone to coming down with a cold or the flu. That being said, there are certain factors to be mindful of before using an over the counter (OTC) cold medicine. Talk to your doctor about which formulas are safe for you while expecting. Antihistamines, chlorpheniramine and loratadine are some of the most common ingredients found in OTCs, and they are completely safe for moms-to-be.

How have you handled your prescriptions while pregnant in the past? Do you know which OTCs are safe? Leave your feedback in the comments section!