Medication during pregnancy: How much do we know?

The answer to this question actually remains unclear. In a country where over 4 million women become pregnant and give birth, there is still no definitive answer regarding the safety of consuming medication during pregnancy.

According to an article in Nature, the reason for this lack of knowledge is due to the discrimination of pregnant women entering biomedical research trials, despite the fact that the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences states eligibility for these women. The real concern entering into the research trials is of course the health of the fetus. In the past thirty years medication administration has increased by 60% and 95% of those medications have been labeled “undetermined” for fetal risk due to a lack of tangible research.

Many pregnant women are under the misconception that testing medication is more dangerous and threatening than consuming medication that has already been approved by the FDA. However, as suggested in the Nature article, it is much safer to test medications in a trial because it is more controlled and thoroughly monitored.

There are many pregnant women who are ill and become pregnant or are pregnant and become ill and the medical world needs to gain better resources to help these women. The only way sufficient information about consuming medications during pregnancy can be provided to the population of pregnant women is to have them more involved in these trials. Until more evidence is gathered, there are other methods to making sure which medications are safe to take during pregnancy. The FDA labels their medications with letter grades (A,B,X) that appropriately address the possible effects, from least to most, if taken while pregnant. All this information is accessible online or through your doctor.