During pregnancy, there are numerous medications that should be avoided in order to maintain healthy fetal development, and now one more has been added to the list. New research shows that valproate, a drug used to treat epilepsy and other neurological conditions, may raise the risk of autism in unborn children. Jakob Christensen, Ph.D., of Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, led the study that was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Because autism spectrum disorders are serious conditions with lifelong implications for affected children and their families, even a moderate increase in risk may have major health importance," researchers wrote in their study. "Still, the absolute risk of autism spectrum disorder was less than 5 percent, which is important to take into account when counseling women about the use of valproate in pregnancy."
Taking medications during pregnancy
It's no secret that certain prescriptions can have a negative impact on the development of an unborn child, but it's still important to speak to your doctor about what's safe to take in your specific situation. Certain medications may be necessary for you to consume while pregnant.
As the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration works to verify the safety of each medication and its effects on pregnant women. However, it might be best to avoid over-the-counter drugs and medicine in general if there's any gray area. In the end, doing so can ensure proper fetal development and reduce the chances of complications, such as autism. Medical experts can provide advice for resuming medications once the pregnancy is over.
How have you managed prescriptions while pregnant in the past? Do you avoid all medicine while you're expecting for safety sake? Leave your feedback in the comments section!