Sunday, June 7, 2009

Safe Medicine

There are a lot of medicines that are used in pregnancy and your doctor or healthcare provider knows which medicines are safe to prescribe. Medicines in the United States are tested for safety and classified according to finding results. Medicine that is safe to use in pregnancy is catagorized as "B" class and they include a very wide variety. If you are unsure about a medicine that has been prescribed for you, you are always within your rigths as a medical consumer, to question your provider. You may also go to the internet and search out that drug. The classification "B" is safe for you to use. It is a common misconception that all drugs are ill-advised in pregnancy and it just isn't so. Medicines for blood pressure and antibiotics, asthma and many other medical conditions are commomly used and there are many that are category"B" and thus safe to use.

Some medicines are prescribed by your provider and the benefits may out-weigh the risk ( maybe they just haven't been studied completely enough to qualify ) and again, your prescriber will tell you that although they may not be a catagory "B", that they are necessary for you to use because the outcome, if you don't, is worse that using the medicine.

There is still controvery over the use of anti-depressants. There are many excellent studies that are long term that show no adverse effects to a developing fetus and yet these medicines may not be catagory"B" drugs. Your prescribing provider can point you to many good pieces of literature to help you decide if they are necessary for you to consider. As with any medicine, your provider can give you good advise.

There are many, many over -the-counter medicines that are commonly used by pregnant women. Some of them are so commonly used that you don't have to call and check on them. Buy them and use them, with confidence. Tylenol, extra-strength, if necessary, and Tylenol PM are safe to use for pain, headache or fever. Call your doctor if the temperature is over 101 degrees farenheit. Don't use Advil ( ibuprofen ) or aspirin, if you are pregnant.

You may use Zyrtec and Benadryl. If you have seasonal allergies , you may use Sudafed or Chlortrimeton too. If you have a cough, you may use Robitussin. And you may use cough drops and throat lozenges too.

You should have a flu shot and that is according to the Centers for Disease Control. The flu is more dangerous than the vaccine. Flu season generally runs November through March and every year there is a different strain of potentially dangerous flu which is predicted and then vaccinated against accordingly, usually in October.

It is safe to go to the dentist and have dental procedures accomplished during your pregnancy. If you should need dental x-rays to diagnose a problem ( maybe you have pain ); the dentist will offer you a lead apron to wear over your abdomen, which will shield any radiation. Many dentists now use digital x-ray which is considered completely safe. And the pain pills that you may be prescribed are fine to use for a short time. Dental anesthesia may be novocaine without epinephrine. Your dentist knows this and your medical provider will also be happy to supply your dentist with any additional information regarding any medicines or anesthetics that might be used. It is safe to use prophylaxis in the form of antibiotics, if your dentist prescribes them for certain conditions you may have. And if you develop infection antibiotic therapy for that is safe too.

The question of herbal supplements and remedies is one that is very difficult to answer. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't test and catagorize these substances, like they do medicines and drugs. So it is probably best not to use them, even if the clerk at the health food store says it's okay because it's natural. Obviously, we use lots of herbs to cook with and spice up the foods we eat. Rosemary, sage and thyme, mint, ginger and oregano and technically they are herbs. I have never read a scientific study of their safety and also never read a study that suggests that they aren't safe to use. I think a good rule of thumb is: if it is sold to treat a medical condition, don't use it without consulting your healthcare provider. If it is packaged and sold as a seasoning, it is probably just fine. I have never read that herbs from your organic garden aren't safe to use and that said, there are herbs we grow only for their intribsic beauty, like pennyroyal--don't eat that. Do you know anyone who does?

In breastfeeding, the rule of thumb is: if it's safe for a developing fetus, it's fine for the baby afterwards, while the baby is breastfeeding. I think that the pediatrician should be consulted about any medicine that the nursing mom may be using since it's the pediatrician who is the expert on babies.

Always contact your healthcare provider, if you are unsure what may be contained as an active ingredient in a medicine. No reason to hesitate to ask someone who is current on usage for expert advise. A spoonful of sugar doesn't help medicines that aren't safe for use to go down. And an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Eat well, exercise, hydrate, rest and stay away from people who you know have communicable diseases. Be well and have a happy pregnancy.