If you want
to treat your children well, the time to start doing so is before
you become pregnant. For a full nine months, a woman's body will
be her child's first home. Drugs
or medications taken during these months must not harm or place
the fetus she carries at risk. Any drugs
which cross the placental barrier have the potential to cause toxic
exposure to the fetus. In some cases, birth defects or termination
of the pregnancy can result.
By drugs and
medication, we are referring to all prescription medications, over-the-counter
drugs and recreational drugs. Medicinal
herbs, dietary supplements and alcohol
also have the potential to cause fetal harm. These are reviewed
you are planning a pregnancy or are recently pregnant, consult your
physician immediately about the pregnancy safety of any prescription
medication you are taking. While some medications are safe, this
is not true in all cases. If your physician knows you are planning
pregnancy, medications which have less risk may be available. If
not, the effect of any required drug on pregnancy should be clearly
explained so you can make an informed decision about your options.
medications (OTC) are another area to exercise restraint. Pain relievers,
antihistamines and drugs which offer combination relief from cold-flu
symptoms are the most popular. All of these, and any other accessible
OTC drug, should be cleared for safety by your obstetrician. It
is also important to follow dose instructions, since overdosing
yourself will also overdose your child.
recreational drugs pose grave risks to both mother and the baby
she carries. Many of these drugs are addictive, and fetuses exposed
to them may be lost during pregnancy or, if they survive, can be
born addicted. For infants exposed to cocaine, heroine, crack or
crank, the first hours and days of life may be spent going through
painful drug detox and withdrawal. Physiologic and development problems
can result in significant health, neurologic and behavioral problems
later in life. Cocaine and its derivatives are also carried in mother's
breastmilk, and can negatively effect growth, development and behavior
of breastfeeding infants.
the most common illicit drug chosen by teens and women during their
reproductive years. The major active ingredient in marijuana does
cross the placenta. Its main effects on the fetus are potential
for hypoxia (inadequate oxygen), poor blood flow to uterus and placenta,
and poor fetal growth. While the specific variables are still debated
(age of mother, dose, frequency, and other drugs used), a lower
birth weight and higher risk of preterm delivery have been observed
in infants of mothers who use marijuana during pregnancy.
There are many
things you get to do with your child over-and-over again. But you
only get one chance to carry this baby and give it birth. It depends
on you to make the right choices. Be informed and think.