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Pregnancy

Health News Scan 7/2/2019: Breastfeeding, Osteoporosis and more

This week in health news: Why do we accept some risks and overly focus on others? Mothers and mothers-to-be are generally considered to be very protective of their children’s health, yet a lot of them take medicines that could (and some probably do) endanger their fetus’ health. Other mothers defy…

Using Benzodiazepines While Pregnant Linked to Increased Risk of Miscarriage

A new study, released today, has found that there’s an association between any benzodiazepine use — this group of drugs includes Xanax, Valium, Ativan and more — during early pregnancy and an increased risk of miscarriage. The findings were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers looked at 442,066 pregnancies…

No Amount of Alcohol Is Safe in Pregnancy, Study Says

Think sipping on a few measly ounces of alcohol while pregnant is safe? Think again. While media has long given conflicting information about whether or not drinking during pregnancy is safe (“A glass of red wine during your third trimester?” “Sure!”), a new study lends more evidence to the camp…

New Studies Point to Dangers of Parental Smoking for Offspring’s Health

Ladies and gentlemen, more convincing reasons moms-and-dads-to-be should put down that cigarette. Two recent studies indicate the risk of both maternal and paternal smoking for health defects in their offspring. Yes, dads-on-deck, you read that right: Your reaching for that pack of cigarettes can affect your unborn baby’s health, too….

Most Cardiovascular Drugs Safe in Pregnancy

Most drugs used to treat various cardiovascular conditions are safe to use in pregnancy, according to a new analysis. Researchers examined study data, guidelines and recommendations regarding the use of cardiovascular drugs during pregnancy. These include medications for irregular heartbeat (antiarrhythmics), hypertension drugs, heart failure drugs, statins and blood thinners…

Pregnant Moms and Coffee Increases Risk of Overweight Kids

Mothers-to-be who consume moderate to high levels of caffeine may unknowingly increase their child’s risk of being overweight in early childhood. Researchers analyzed about 51,000 mothers and their infants who were part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study between 2002 and 2008. Once the mothers hit 22 weeks…

FDA Moves to Include Pregnant Women in Clinical Trials

The FDA has issued draft guidance recommending that pharmaceutical companies include pregnant women in their clinical trials. The document outlines how the inclusion can be exercised safely and ethically. In the draft, the agency notes there is limited clinical information on how medications may affect pregnant women, which is mainly due…

Which Medicines Are Safe in Pregnancy?

It depends on the drug, on the timing during pregnancy and what you consider safe. Are you pregnant (or considering getting pregnant) and taking a medicine regularly? If you have severe asthma, are diabetic, suffer from a mood disorder or any one of a number of chronic health challenges, you…

Dairy Probiotics May Lower Risk of Pregnancy Complications

Mothers-to-be who take milk probiotics may have a lower risk of experiencing preeclampsia, premature birth and other pregnancy complications, according to a study published in the online journal BMJ Open. Previous studies have indicated that probiotics, which are found in fermented dairy products such as milk and yogurt, reduce the…

Taking Meds While Pregnant: FDA Seeks Answers on Risks

Can you take that prescription drug while pregnant? The FDA wants to find out. The agency is taking a closer look at the risks and benefits of taking drugs during pregnancygiven that there is a general lack of information on the topic. Also, many expectant moms have concerns about taking…

C-Section Moms Often Overprescribed Opioids for Pain

While opioid medications are usually prescribed to women following a caesarean section (C-section) birth, new research indicates that many more than needed are prescribed to patients, increasing the potential for misuse. Researchers looked at the records of 720 women that received a C-section at one of 6 hospitals across the…

Can Pregnant Women Be Trusted to Make Their Own Medical Decisions?

Concerns that labeling changes on anesthesia might discourage pregnant women from getting medical procedures are unwarranted. Flash advice from the FDA! Avoid putting your infant under sedation for 3 hours or more. But if medically necessary, go right ahead. Question: Who is going to put a child younger than 3…

Epilepsy, Bipolar Drug Further Linked to Birth Defects

A drug prescribed to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder is responsible for more than 4,000 babies born with birth defects in France, according to a study by health authorities there. Women who took the drug, valproate, while pregnant for epilepsy were 4 times as likely to give birth to a…

From Snip to Tear

Episiotomies used to be a standard procedure with vaginal births. That’s changing as the procedure is seen as over-medicalization. Episiotomies used to be routine procedure in the US for vaginal births, and I’m happy to report that’s changing. An episiotomy is a cut made with operating scissors from the edge…

Premature Birth Drug Has No Benefit, But Serious Side Effect

A drug that is used by pregnant women to prevent preterm birth may not only not be effective, but may increase the risk of a serious side effect, gestational diabetes. The drug, Makena, is a synthetic progesterone known as 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate. It was approved by the FDA in 2011…

Tylenol in Pregnancy: Real Concern or Unnecessary Fear?

Acetaminophen, better known under the brand name Tylenol, is an over-the-counter pain- and fever-reducing medication that is generally considered safe to use, even during pregnancy. In recent years, however, a slew of studies have cast some doubt on its safety during pregnancy. Some have claimed use of acetaminophen during pregnancy…

Drug Classifications of Prescription Medicines During Pregnancy

To help pregnant women and their healthcare providers choose prescription and OTC drugs safely, the FDA created a grading system, labeling drugs in categories from A (considered safest, with controlled human studies that have shown no fetal risks), through X (drugs that have proven fetal risks that outweigh any possible…

It’s Not Just Zika: 5 Drugs That Can Affect a Fetus

Pregnant women are understandably concerned about the threat of the Zika virus. But everyday medicines and behaviors can also threaten a developing fetus. With the threat of Zika — the mosquito-borne virus that causes grave birth defects — literally hanging in the air, pregnant women are understandably concerned. So much…

Pot use in pregnancy may pose risks; warnings needed: AMA

Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding poses potential harms. The American Medical Association pushed for regulations requiring such warnings be written on medical and recreational pot products and posted wherever they’re sold. The decision was made based on studies suggesting marijuana use may be linked with low birth weight, premature…

No Amount of Alcohol Safe During Pregnancy, Doctors Say

A leading U.S. pediatricians’ group at the University of Texas Health Science Center has issued a new warning that no amount of drinking is safe while pregnant. According to a new report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, alcohol use during pregnancy can cause thinking and behavioral problems that…

Pregnancy, Medicine & Risk

Pregnant women get sick. Women with chronic illnesses get pregnant. Yet very few drugs have ever been tested for their effects on pregnant women. Understandably, there has been a long-standing ethical reluctance to test drugs that could harm a fetus, but that is changing. Having no information leaves doctors guessing…

Drugs in Pregnancy Part 7: Supplements

In Part 7 of our Drugs in Pregnancy series, we’re talking about supplements. You know you need vitamins and minerals (your healthcare provider likely prescribed prenatal vitamin for you). But are other supplements — even ones that seem benign — always a smart swallow when you have a growing baby…

Drugs in Pregnancy Part 6: Antidepressants

In Part 6 of our 7-part Drugs in Pregnancy series, we tackle the difficult issue of antidepressants during pregnancy. As we noted in the intro to this series, about 90% of pregnant women take at least 1 medication during pregnancy, with 70% taking at least 1 prescription drug, according to…

Drugs in Pregnancy Part 5: Sleep Medication

In Part 5 of our 7-part Drugs in Pregnancy series, we’re talking about the issue of sleep meds during pregnancy. Being pregnant makes sleep problematic for many women, for a whole host of reasons: You have to get up to pee more frequently earlier in your pregnancy, you’re uncomfortable in…

Drugs in Pregnancy Part 4: Antibiotics

In Part 4 of our 7-part Drugs in Pregnancy series, we tackle antibiotics. If you’re wondering whether taking an antibiotic is a good idea or harmful to your baby, the answer is a resounding … it depends. It depends on the infection at hand, for one thing; most must be…

Drugs in Pregnancy Part 3: Colds, Coughs, Flu & Allergies

In Part 3 of our 7-part Drugs in Pregnancy series, we pick up a tissue in sympathy with the many women who suffer more-frequent colds and coughs over the 9 months of pregnancy. If you’re pregnant and suffering through your umpteenth respiratory event, you’re not alone. Pregnancy lowers your immune…

MedShadow Posts 7-Part Drugs and Pregnancy series

What every pregnant woman should know about the effect of drugs on herself and her baby – and the implications of the new FDA prescription drug labeling NEW YORK CITY, NY, April 15, 2015 – MedShadow, a nonprofit online advocacy source that educates consumers on the side effects of prescription…

Drug withdrawal among babies rising ‘due to prescription of opioids for mothers’

Women receiving opioid pain reliever prescriptions, such as hydrocone, while pregnant are at increased risk of their babies having neonatal abstinence syndrome according to a study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Results showed that babies exposed to opioids were more likely to be born preterm, have complicated births, low birth…

Drugs and Pregnancy Part 2: Easing Nausea

In this 2nd part of our 7-part Drugs in Pregnancy series, we tackle the issue of pregnancy nausea. Though the one major anti-nausea drug prescribed during the first trimester, Diclegis (see below), is considered safe, it’s always smart to understand both how drugs’ (prescription or OTC) effects are altered during…

Drugs in Pregnancy: Part 1 — Painkillers

Between 2009 and 2011, more than 14% of pregnant women took prescribed narcotic painkillers, also known as opioids, for pain at some point during their pregnancy, according to a recent study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). Doctors prescribed opioids for back pain, abdominal pain, migraine, joint pain, and…

Drugs in Pregnancy: A 7-Part Series Every Pregnant Woman Must Read

About 90% of pregnant women take at least 1 medication during pregnancy, with 70% taking at least 1 prescription drug, according to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. In the last 30 years, first-trimester prescription medication use has increased by more than 60%. Despite this upward trend, it’s safe to…

Study Sees Bigger Role for Placenta in Newborns’ Health

According to a new study, the placenta, once thought sterile, actually harbors a world of bacteria that may influence the course of pregnancy and help shape an infant’s health and the bacterial makeup of its gut. During pregnancy, the authors of the new study suspect, the wrong mix of bacteria…

Taking Antipsychotic Drugs While Pregnant May Harm Newborns: Study

According to a study, babies born to women on antipsychotic drugs are more likely to spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or to need specialized care after birth. Lead investigator, Jayashri Kulkarni, director of the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Center said, “This new research confirms that most…

Pregnancy Drugs, FDA Categories

The FDA places each drug in a category indicating the risk to the fetus of an expectant and/or breastfeeding mother. Here is a link to the list. Here is a cheat sheet (but don’t depend on this, check the website directly for more information) and always check with your doctor….

Should Kate Middleton Take Anti-Nausea Medicine for Morning Sickness?

Is the holy grail of morning sickness finally available? Several months ago, the Duchess previously known as Kate Middleton was hospitalized for severe morning sickness. A week or so later she was recovered and made the medical term for severe morning sickness, “hyperemesis gravidarum,” (HG) temporarily famous. The FDA has…

No Wine, No Smokes, But Pop a Pill?

Pregnancy is a time when most people are aware that women need to cut out smoking and drinking. They need to “eat for two,” not in terms of quantity but for quality. But what are a young woman’s choices when she needs to take a prescription drug? Many young women…

Anti-Depressants & Stillbirths, Good News

Pregnant women, or women planning on becoming pregnant, who use SSRIs before or during pregnancy, have worried that the drugs could affect the fetus’ or baby’s health. The NYTimes reported today on an observational study of 1.6 million births in Nordic countries. The conclusion is that SSRIs don’t lead to…

Kate’s Post Pregnancy Risk

It’s been widely reported that Kate and William are expecting their first child. The news included the information that Kate is experiencing an extreme form of morning sickness diagnosed as hyperemesis gravidarum, known as HG. Kate has been hospitalized as the risks are immediate and severe. What is less reported…