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Pregnancy FAQs

What over-the-counter pain medication is recommended during pregnancy?
Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, is the recommended over-the-counter pain and fever medication during pregnancy. It can be taken during any trimester of pregnancy. Ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin are generally avoided in pregnancy unless specifically recommended by your doctor.

Is taking a medication in my first trimester more harmful than taking one later in pregnancy?
No, not necessarily. The baby’s organs form during the first trimester, so this is the point in pregnancy in which there can be concern for a medication causing a birth defect. However, the baby continues to grow and the baby’s brain continues to develop throughout the whole pregnancy. Therefore, it is important to understand the possible effects of medications at all points in pregnancy. Call the MotherToBaby Arizona to speak with one of our experts about your medication in your pregnancy.

My pharmacist told me that my medication is Category B. Does that mean it is safe?
For many years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assigned Pregnancy Categories to most medications. These categories were a general means of labeling medications based on how many studies have been done in pregnant animals and humans, and whether these studies have found any potential risks. However, the Pregnancy Categories were not always updated when new studies are published, did not account for the reason a medication was being used and did not address timing of the use during pregnancy. In December of 2014, the FDA published a final rule that requires prescription drugs and biological products to include more detailed labeling about their risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The revised labeling will replace the old five-letter system with more helpful information about a medication's risks to the expectant mother, the developing fetus and the breastfed infant. In addition, the labeling will include contact information for pregnancy exposure registries that collect and maintain data on the effects of medications used by pregnant women. Pregnant women are encouraged to enroll in these studies if they are taking drugs or biological products for which there is a registry. 

Women and their health care providers can look forward to getting more useful and up-to-date information over the next few years about the effects of medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The experts at MotherToBaby Arizona have access to the most up-to-date, accurate information about medication safety during pregnancy. Call us toll-free: 1-888-285-3410
Additional information can be found at http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates

Is it okay to get the flu shot during pregnancy?
Yes! In fact, it is recommended that all pregnant women get the flu shot during any trimester of pregnancy. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for serious complications from the flu. The flu shot will help protect you from getting sick, and may help protect your baby from getting the flu after she is born.

Can I continue to use my asthma inhaler during pregnancy?
Yes, it is generally recommended that women who have asthma continue to use their asthma inhalers during pregnancy. Changes that happen to the body as part of the natural course of pregnancy can cause asthma symptoms to worsen. For this reason, it is particularly important for you to discuss your asthma treatment during pregnancy with your health care provider and call MotherToBaby Arizona with questions.

If you are pregnant and have asthma, see how you can help other pregnant women and Share Your Pregnancy.

What about hair dye? Is it safe?
Yes, getting your hair dyed or highlighted is not expected to be harmful during any trimester of pregnancy. The hair dye will not enter your system in large enough amounts to get to the developing baby.

I have depression and just found out that I am pregnant. Should I stop taking my antidepressant?
Do not stop taking any medication without first speaking with your healthcare provider. Depression is a serious medical condition, and studies have shown that women who have untreated depression during pregnancy may have a higher chance of complications during their pregnancy. Each antidepressant is different, and may have different effects during pregnancy. The risks of taking any medication during pregnancy need to be balanced against the benefits of treatment. Call MotherToBaby Arizona to discuss the risks and benefits of your medication in your pregnancy.

The father of the baby takes several medications every day. Could that harm the baby?
Unlike the mother, the father does not share a direct blood connection with a developing baby. So most paternal medications and exposures do not cause birth defects or increase risk to a pregnancy. Some medications, such as those used to treat cancer or some autoimmune diseases, may cause changes to a man’s sperm and affect fertility. For questions about specific medications, call us at 1-888-285-3410.

I’ve heard that I should be careful about eating certain foods in pregnancy. Is this true?

Yes. Although most foods can be eaten safely in pregnancy as part of a well-balanced diet, you should limit the amounts of some foods and beverages, and there are a few that should be avoided entirely. For the most updated recommendations about several foods and beverages during pregnancy, check out the following OTIS Fact Sheets:

Originally posted: Oct 2, 2014
Last updated: Sep 11, 2015