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Staying Well


Managing Stress
Stress and Pregnancy
Relaxation Techniques

Staying Active
Exercise and Good Health
Exercise During Pregnancy
Exercise After Pregnancy

Avoiding Unsafe Exposure
Drugs and Medications
Smoking and Tobacco Smoke
General Precautions

Evolving Families
New Mothers
Evolving Couples
Evolving Families

Coping With Loss
Facing Infertility
Grieving Pregnancy Loss


 

Drugs and Medications

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 separately.

Pharmaceuticals
If 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.

Over-the-counter 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
Needless-to-say, 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.

Marijuana is 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.

Thought
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.

Not all exercises or diets are suitable for everyone. Before you begin this program, you should have permission from your doctor to participate in vigorous exercise and change of diet. If you feel discomfort or pain when you exercise, do not continue. The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants and distributors of this site disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the exercise and advice provided here.

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