Pregnancy Home > Drugs and Pregnancy

In many cases, drugs can be taken during pregnancy without causing any harm to the fetus. To be sure, however, you should tell your doctor about any drugs you are taking -- including herbal supplements. The FDA has a system whereby the safety of drugs on pregnancy is measured. Category A drugs are the safest; category X drugs should not be taken during pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Drugs: An Overview

It can be hard to plan exactly when you will get pregnant in order to avoid taking any drugs. Most of the time, medications a pregnant woman is taking do not enter the fetus. Sometimes, however, they can, causing damage or birth defects.
The risk of damage to a fetus is the greatest in the first few weeks of pregnancy, when major organs are developing. But researchers do not know if taking drugs during pregnancy will have negative effects on the baby later.
Many drugs that you can buy over-the-counter (OTC) in drug and discount stores, as well as drugs your healthcare provider prescribes are thought to be safe during pregnancy, although no drugs are proven to be absolutely safe to take while you are pregnant. Many of these products indicate on the label if they are thought to be safe during pregnancy. If you are not sure about taking an OTC product, ask your healthcare provider.
Some medicines are not safe to take during pregnancy. Even drugs prescribed by your healthcare provider before you became pregnant might be harmful to both you and the growing fetus during pregnancy. Make sure that all of your healthcare providers know you are pregnant, and never take any drugs during pregnancy unless they tell you to.
Also, keep in mind that other things, such as caffeine, vitamins, and herbal teas and remedies, can affect the growing fetus. Talk with your healthcare provider about cutting down on caffeine, and ask about the type of vitamins you need to take. Never use any herbal product without talking to your healthcare provider first.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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