Pregnant women should not be in the dark as to the dangers drugs can have on their unborn babies. Most Babies when born suffer from various congenital malformations. Expectant mothers should be very careful especially about drugs taken in their first trimesters. Below are some drugs which should be avoided.
- Accutane: It is a popular drug for combating acne. Taking Accutane can cause crippling birth defects, including hydrocephaly (enlargement of the fluid-filled spaces in the brain), microcephaly (small head and brain), mental retardation, heart defects, ear and eye abnormalities, cleft lip and palate, and other facial abnormalities. Taking Accutane for even a short period of time during pregnancy or in the first stages, before women even realize they are pregnant, can still cause birth defects. To be safe, women who take Accutane should not even try to get pregnant until they have fully stopped using Accutane.
- Tetracycline: is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, acne, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Tetracycline shouldn’t be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding because doctors consider it a category D drug. While studies have not been conducted on humans for obvious reasons, animal studies show that using Tetracycline whilst pregnant can cause embryo toxicity and teratogenicity, as well as toxic effects on skeletal formation. Likewise, when used during the second half of pregnancy, while the embryo’s teeth are being developed, Tetracycline can cause permanent discoloration in the baby’s teeth or even enamel hypoplasia. While breastfeeding, Tetracycline is released via the milk, which could cause the infant to undergo dental staining and complicate bone growth.
- Aspirin: Most people use Aspirin like candy when they have headaches. Aspirin should be avoided during pregnancy at all costs, as well as other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs along the lines of Advil and Ibuprofen. This is because, prior to birth, the baby gets its oxygen via blood from the placenta. Then at birth, a natural drop in the baby’s prostaglandin levels causes the baby’s circulatory system to redirect the blood flow to the lungs. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatories block prostaglandins. Thus, if a pregnant mother takes Aspirin, particularly after the 32-week marker, she could cause the baby’s blood flow to be channeled to the uterus. This could be lethal to the baby.
- Ribavirin: Ribavirin is an antiviral drug used to treat chronic cases of Hepatitis C. In studies involving pregnant animals, Ribavirin caused many fetal birth defects or death. The animal fetuses in almost all cases were subject to embryo lethality and teratogenicity. Because of the high potential for complications, women are advised to wait six months after discontinuing Ribavirin to start trying to get pregnant. Men should do the same if they are on Ribavirin, as it can cause abnormalities in the sperm.
- Dalmane: Dalmane is a medication used to treat insomnia, or sleeplessness. Dalmane is from a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. These are shown to have the same risks toward brain developement in a fetus. The risks of mental retardation and other learning disabilities are high. Likewise, benzodiazepines are dangerous throughout the entire pregnancy, and are not considered more dangerous at any particular stage of development; all stages are at risk. The newborn may even show withdrawal symptoms from the Dalmane after birth. Using Dalmane during pregnancy would be foolish and cruel considering insomnia can also be treated with natural, harmless methods such as warm bathe, drinking milk and massage.
- Lexapro: It belongs to the group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Lexapro is an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication. Studies have shown that Lexapro has much more devastating effects on the fetus, such as heart defects, Spina Bifida, and Club Foot. The risk of miscarriage is also higher in those taking Lexapro while pregnant.
- Depakote: Is a medication prescribed to people with epilepsy for the prevention of seizure. Depakote can cause complications throughout pregnancy, such as birth defects. Additionally, studies have shown that children born to mothers who took Depakote throughout pregnancy scored lower on cognitive functioning tests than their peers who were born in circumstances without the drug present. Unfortunately, epilepsy is not something that can go untreated, and pregnant women may be forced to continue the drug through pregnancy to allay the risks of potential seizures. Women who must continue the use of Depakote during pregnancy should be sure to get enough folic acid, which can help prevent some birth defects from occurring.
- Diethylstilbesterol: This is a hormonal drug. Research evidences proved that when a woman takes this drug during pregnancy, there is a higher chance that the baby will suffer from cervical cancer later in life.