What Medications Are Not Safe To Take During Pregnancy?

What Medications Are Not Safe To Take During Pregnancy?

Once you've found out that you're expecting a baby, it's necessary to ask yourself, "what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy?" Make sure to avoid these medications without the intervention of a gynaecologist.

The rules around pregnancy are always evolving and so are the medications, systems and practices. So, it’s completely fine if you don’t know what’s the best process to follow in today’s times. It’s also a time when you need to learn and unlearn about your body and take the necessary precautions to safeguard the health of you and your baby. 

Something as innocent as popping the wrong pill can have a long-term effect during pregnancy. Once you’ve found out that you’re expecting a baby, it’s necessary to ask yourself, “what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy?” 

Now the science behind the effects of medicines on pregnant women is limited. This is largely due to pregnant women not being a part of medication safety studies due to ethical reasons. This leaves you with little knowledge to know about the harmful effects of taking the wrong medication.

However, certain medications are considered category X drugs that should be taken by expecting mums or women trying to become pregnant. 

That’s why you need to consult a gynaecologist as soon as you find out about your pregnancy to guide you about all the safety measures and precautions. 

what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy

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What Medications You Should Not Take During Pregnancy?

Prescription drugs are particularly harmful to pregnant if taken unchecked. Your gynaecologist will be able to recommend the right medicines based on your medical history and in case you are already on medicines for long-term health issues. However, there are a handful of medications that you should avoid that could have risky affects. 

We’ve answered the question “What medications are not safe to take during pregnancy?” before in previous articles that you must check out.  Here’s a shortlist of the medicines you shouldn’t take during pregnancy:

  1. Ibuprofen 
  2. Aspirin
  3. Naproxen Sodium (Aleve)
  4. Acne medicines
  5. Ribavirin
  6. Anti-fungal medication  
  7. Anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants
  8. Antibiotics (unless prescribed by your doctor)
  9. Antihistamines (unless prescribed by your doctor)
  10. Migraine medications (unless prescribed by your doctor)
  11. Sleeping aids
  12. Bismuth Subsalicylate

Read more on why these medications aren’t suitable for you and your little ones here, mums! At the same time, if you need to take any medication while pregnant, only take those prescribed by your doctor. 

What To Consider Before Buying Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications?

what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy

Image Source: Pexels

  1. Consult with your doctor. Before you take any medication make sure to consult with your doctor. You should know most of these popular OTC medications have serious long-term effects. Ask yourself, are you willing to put your baby’s life in danger to get rid of that headache?
  2. Avoid combination drugs. Do not take two different kinds of medications together. Only do this if your doctor recommends it. For instance, an anti-allergy drug and a pain reliever can be a deadly combination. Consult your doctor before consuming any kind of combination drugs. 
  3. Read labels. Always make sure to read the labels before you buy or consume an OTC medication. Many-a-times, ingredients like alcohol and caffeine show unannounced. So be careful with what you purchase and share the information with your doctor, as always.

What Are The Health Risks Of Taking Azathioprine When Pregnant?

Mums, please note that taking azathioprine during pregnancy is not recommended by the FDA. According to this study, it’s known that taking azathioprine while pregnant may lead to a rise in congenital abnormalities. 

For instance, in the study, the researchers point out that taking azathioprine could lead to:

  • Slower development in the womb
  • A higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight
  • A variety of different conditions affecting the head, spinal cord,  thymus, kidney, blood, lungs, urinary bladder, eyes, urethra, and hands.

However, there are conflicting results. Some studies suggest that taking azathioprine can lead to heart defects, low birth weight, premature birth and small size for gestational age. Other studies, on the other hand, claim that it’s safe. It’s important to note that perhaps the mum’s disease, Pemphigus Vulgaris could have also contributed to her baby being born skinless. Of course, no mum or doctor wants a baby in the womb to be at risk of incomplete development. Therefore, all expecting women should ensure that the drugs they take are safe and will not affect foetal growth.

We can’t stress this enough. Always check with your doctors about drugs and drug safety. You should never self medicate without professional advice. That way, you can get the best outcome from your pregnancy each step along the way.

This article about what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy was originally written in Bahasa Indonesia by Adisty Titania. It was translated and further edited by Kevin Wijaya Oey, later republished with the permission of theAsianparent Indonesia

References: JPMA, NCBI (1, 2, 3)


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