When you decide to try for a baby, you should start to think about how you can get your body ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible. And a common question that many people who are trying to conceive is—are the medications I’m taking safe for me (and my future baby) during pregnancy? Since every medication—and every mama-to-be—is different, this is a topic that you’ll need to discuss with your provider during a pre-pregnancy checkup to get the best guidance for you. In the meantime, here are some things to consider (and ask your provider about).
What Medications Should I Discuss with My Provider?
All of them. We’re talking prescription medicine, over-the-counter medicine, allergy medicine, herbal and dietary supplements…and even vitamins. While some medications or supplements you take might be a choice or preference, others might truly be a necessity in order to help control certain health conditions. Your provider can assess each medication, and help you put together a plan that keeps you as healthy as possible, and your (future) baby as safe as possible. You should also make sure to chat with your provider about starting a prenatal vitamin to ensure you’re getting the correct doses of vitamins (particularly iron and folic acid) to support a healthy pregnancy.
While it might feel like you’re getting ahead of yourself by discussing safe medications before you’re even pregnant, it’s really never too early. The fact of the matter is—when you’re actively trying to become pregnant, there are a few weeks before a positive pregnancy test where you could be pregnant without knowing it.
What Else Should I Know About Medications During Pregnancy?
There’s a lot that is unknown about the effect of medications during pregnancy (pregnant women are excluded from many studies about medications in order to protect them and their baby). Here are a few things to know:
- 9 in 10 women report taking medicine during pregnancy, with 7 of 10 taking at least one prescription medicine.
- In some cases, avoiding or stopping a medicine while trying to get pregnant (or during pregnancy) could actually be more harmful than actually taking the medicine (for example, conditions like high blood pressure, depression, asthma, etc.).
- Some medications can have an impact on fertility. Your provider can assess whether certain prescriptions or over-the-counter medicine could impact your chances of getting pregnant.
- Certain medicines can increase the risk of birth defects, pregnancy loss, prematurity, infant death or developmental disabilities.
- You should never start or stop a prescription medication without consulting with your provider first.
Here’s the best rule of thumb to follow—take only what you truly need to take. And work with your provider to decide what’s absolutely necessary. Creating a medication plan before you become pregnant is the best way to ensure that you (and eventually your baby) remain as healthy as possible!