You probably would not think twice about getting a tooth filled, going to the chiropractor, or having an X-ray if you were not pregnant. However, you should question every single medical treatment and medication, including supplements, over-the-counter medications and alternative therapies, if you are pregnant. Information that pregnant women need to heed changes on a regular basis. For example, the FDA just recently raised concerns about low-dose fluconazole, a common pill for chronic yeast infections, being taken by pregnant women due to increased chances for birth defects.
Herbal preparations, teas, tinctures and other treatments are growing in popularity. You should be very wary of using any herbal preparations during your pregnancy. Practically all such herbal medications and treatments have not undergone any safety testing for use by pregnant women. There is no data to use to even make an informed decision as to potential risk versus benefits. You should remember that just because a product is marketed as a natural treatment, that does not mean it is safe for you or your unborn child, but neither are prescriptions.
Many OTC meds advise consulting your doctor before using them if you are pregnant. Plus, many OTC meds contain multiple active ingredients. You may not need all of the chemicals to treat your symptoms, making an alternative OTC product better. For example, if you have a cold with a cough, stuffy nose and body aches but only the body aches are troublesome, then there is no need to consume an OTC cold treatment that includes a cough suppressant and decongestant. Be sure to read labels and consult with pharmacists and your doctor before using any OTC product as they can contain anything such as alcohol or modified doses of prescription medications.
At some point in your pregnancy, your doctor may prescribe a topical medication, pill or other prescription product you need to receive from a pharmacy. When you go to your pharmacy, you are relying on a knowledgeable pharmacist to make sure you understand the potential risks versus benefits of a medication. For example, if you need treatment for gestational diabetes, you may be prescribed anything from an oral medication to an injectable insulin. Your treatment may differ from what a non-pregnant diabetic would receive. Your pharmacist should be aware of every medication, supplement, herbal product and OTC product you take in order to reduce the risk of drug interactions that can put you or your unborn child at risk.
If you are pregnant, anything from a chiropractic manipulation to getting an X-ray needs to be reconsidered or adapted to protect you and your pregnancy. When your doctor knows you are pregnant, every procedure is measured based on necessity, benefit for you or your unborn child, and known risks. Some procedures only require adaptation such as wearing the lead aprons to protect your abdomen when getting an X-ray for a dental procedure. This is why it is important to speak up, especially early in your pregnancy when it is not obvious, advising all medical care providers of any sort that you are pregnant.
You can get the help and relief that modern medicines and medical treatments provide during your pregnancy, but your healthcare providers need to know you are pregnant. You can do your part in protecting your baby by avoiding medications and treatments that can be safely delayed until after delivery. Do not be afraid to consult your doctor first.
Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Rachelle recommends investigating pharmacy informatics to learn more about medications. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700