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Safe Use of Medicines during Pregnancy

  1. Importance of safe use of medicines during pregnancy
    Improper use of medicines may also lead to premature babies, underweight babies, and stillborn births, and in less desirable cases teratogenicity and birth defects. However, in patients with existing medical condition, premature withdrawal or negligence of due medical treatment may result in long-term complications on both the mother and the baby. Pregnant women should always seek medical advice prior to consume or discontinue any medications.

  2. Medicines that can be used during pregnancy
    The following list of medicines appeared to have no known harmful side effects during pregnancy when taken according to instructions. Note that no drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy. Always consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications, especially in the first trimester.

  3. Common Conditions  Over-the-Counter Medicines  Pharmacy-Only Medicines
    (obtained through pharmacist)
    Other treatment options 
    Allergy

    -

    • Chlorpheniramine
     

    -

    Constipation  

    -

    -

    Cough
    • Guaiphenesin Syrup
     
    • Diphenhydramine
    • Dextromethorphan
     

    -

    Indigestion
    • Antacid preparation containing Aluminum or Calcium
     
    • Famotidine 
    • Ranitidine
     

    -

    Nausea

    -

    • Promethazine theoclate
     

    -

    Runny nose
    • Oxymetazoline nasal decongestant spray
     
    • Chlorpheniramine
     

    -

    Sore throat  

    -

    • Gargle with saltwater
     
  4. Alternative therapies for morning sickness symptoms

    Symptoms   Alternative therapies  
    Nausea and vomiting
    • Pyridoxine
    • Vitamin B6 tablets
    • Ginger roots
    • Acupuncture
     
    Backache
    • Postural adjustment (Chiropractic)
     
    Pain relief in labour
    • Epidural injection
    • Relaxation and breathing technique
    • Acupuncture
     

  5. Medicines that should be avoided in pregnancy

    Type of medications  Examples 
    Blood thinners
    • Warfarin
    • Aspirin
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) e.g. Mefenamic acid, Ibuprofen, Naproxen
     
    High blood pressure medications
    • Anticholinesterase inhibitors (ACEI) e.g. Enalapril, Captopril, Lisinopril
    • Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) e.g. Losartan, Valsartan, Telmisartan
     
    Acne medications
    • Retinoid derivatives
     

  6. Alternative therapies that should be avoided in pregnancy

    Types of alternative therapies  Contents 
    Oral supplements Arbor vitae, beetroot, black cohosh, blue cohosh, cascara, chaste tree berry, Chinese angelica (dong quai), cinchona, cotton root bark, feverfew, ginseng, golden seal, juniper, kava kava, licorice, meadow saffron, pennyroyal, poke root, rue, sage, St. John's wort, senna, slippery root, tansy, white peony, wormwood, yarrow, yellow dock
    Aromatherapy oils Calamus, mugwort, pennyroyal, sage, wintergreen, basil, hyssop, myrrh, marjoram, and thyme

Pregnant women are advised to seek doctors’ or pharmacists’ advice before starting on any supplements.  

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