Pregnancy Home > Prescription Medications and Pregnancy

Medications are rarely tested in pregnant women. This makes it especially difficult to know if a drug poses a risk for your developing baby. The FDA's pregnancy Category system addresses this problem by assigning each drug to a safety category based on its expected risks. It's important to note that nonprescription drugs cannot be assumed safe; always consult your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy.

Are Prescription Medications Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

There is no clear "yes or no" answer to this serious question. Unfortunately, not much is known about medication use in general during pregnancy in humans. This is because medications are rarely tested in pregnant women, for fear of harming an unborn baby who would not directly benefit from the drug.
Therefore, it is very important to talk to your healthcare provider if you are thinking about taking any medication while pregnant, or are pregnant (or thinking of becoming pregnant) and currently take medications. Your healthcare provider will consider the benefits and risks of each medication during pregnancy before making a recommendation in your particular situation. Do not start or stop a drug on your own while you are pregnant without first talking with your healthcare provider.
Whether a medication is recommended for use during pregnancy depends on a variety of factors, including the potential risks to the developing baby and the benefits to the pregnant woman. To help healthcare providers decide this, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created pregnancy Categories that rate the safety of using a certain prescription drug during pregnancy.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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