Every woman should invest in high quality pregnancy vitamins. You can never be too cautious about the medications you take while pregnant. Just because something is safe for you, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe for your child. Medications can cross your placenta to enter into your baby’s bloodstream.

The effect of medications on your baby depends largely on the type of drugs you’re taking and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Knowing which medications are safe for both you and your baby isn’t always easy. That’s why you need a pharmacist you can trust at this time in your life.

Categories of Drugs

Your OB/GYN typically prescribes pregnancy vitamins to aid your child’s development. Because no medication is without some level of risk for side effects and complications, always double-check with your doctor before you take anything — prescription or over-the-counter. Also discuss any medications you were taking prior to becoming pregnant. You may need to find an alternative if you’re taking anything that can harm your baby.

All medications typically fall into one of five categories.

  1. Category A drugs are ones that have been found to be completely safe during pregnancy. This includes pregnancy vitamins, folic acid and certain thyroid medications.
  2. Category B drugs are frequently used during pregnancy because they don’t appear to be the cause of any major birth defects. These include:
    • Anesthesia is best avoided if at all possible. Schedule any surgical procedures after your pregnancy. But if you can’t avoid it, wait until your second trimester. This prevents exposing your early fetus to the drugs, but is too early to induce premature labor.
    • Antibiotics are sometimes necessary during pregnancy. Unless you are allergic to drugs in the penicillin category, they are safe for you to take while pregnant. Macrodantin, typically prescribed for urinary tract infections, is safe for most people. Antibiotics such as Keflex are also safe unless you are already allergic.
    • Antidepressants have a fairly consistent safety record in the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy. But definitely have a conversation with your doctors about the risks and rewards of your specific medications.
    • Asthma medications can be very important to your continued health during your pregnancy since uncontrolled asthma can significantly increase the percentage of risks in your pregnancy.
  1. Category C are considerably more likely to cause issues in your pregnancy. These include:
    • Sudafed
    • Compazine
    • Diflucan
    • Cipro
    • Other antidepressants
  1. Category D drugs possess clear and definite health risks to your child. These include:
    • Alcohol
    • Lithium
    • Dilantin
    • Most chemotherapy drugs
  1. Category X drugs are proven to cause birth defects and should be avoided at all costs during your pregnancy. These include
    • Tetracycline
    • ACE inhibitors
    • Most anti-neoplastics
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Statins

Safety Measures for Pregnancy Vitamins

And while it’s tempting to purchase pregnancy vitamins or alternative remedies simply because they claim to be natural and effective, many of them have yet to be fully studied. Your pharmacist at Asheville Compounding Pharmacy is a father and he stays up-to-date on the most reliable supplements. 

He recommends DHA, one of the two main omega3 fatty acids in fish oil, important to remain at your peak of health during pregnancy. Also consider taking 800mcg to 1000mcg per day of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, the biologically active form of folic acid.  Talk to your OB/GYN about adding methylcobalamin as well; it’s the biologically active form of B12 and is also important.  

To guarantee the continued safety of your pregnancy, don’t take anything that hasn’t been cleared by your doctor and recommended by your pharmacist.

John Clark
John Clark
Pharm D.