There are common questions that we can answer about all health topics, such as "What is it?" and "How many people are affected." Answers to these questions are found under Condition Information. Each health topic frequently has specific questions that pertain only to that topic. We have answered those in this section.
How do I know if my medications are safe to continue while I'm pregnant?
Because some medications can harm a developing fetus, it is important to tell your health care provider about all of the medications you are taking, including herbal and dietary supplements. Even ibuprofen or aspirin can cause problems in pregnancy, particularly during the last 3 months.1
Many women take medications to treat health problems during pregnancy, like diabetes, asthma, heartburn, or morning sickness. Other women take medications to treat conditions they had before they became pregnant. Often, your health care provider will encourage you to continue taking your medication. However, in some cases, a safer alternative may be available.2
Additional information on medication safety during pregnancy can be found in the Resources for Consumers section.
How do I know if my medication will have side effects?
All medications can have adverse, or unpleasant, effects. These can include side effects of the drug, interactions with other medications or food, and allergic reactions.
You can ask your pharmacist or health care provider about the side effects of any medication you may be taking. In addition, side effects are listed on the drug label or the package insert.
You can also look up your medication on the Food and Drug Administration's website Index to Drug-Specific Information page.
To help avoid an adverse effect to medication3:
- Read the medicine label carefully. Learn about over-the-counter drug labeling and see an example label.
- Take the medication as prescribed by your health care provider or as the drug label instructs. Do not take a higher dose than the label says, and continue taking the medication as long as directed.
- Take the medication exactly as the label says. For example, some labels say to take the drug with food or plenty of water.
- Tell your health care provider about any over-the-counter or prescription medicine you may be taking, including herbal or dietary supplements.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2012). Medicine and pregnancy. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ByAudience/ForWomen/ucm118567.htm [top]
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Medication use during pregnancy. Retrieved August 7, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/Features/dsMedicationPregnancy/ [top]
- American Academy of Family Physicians. (2012). OTC medicines: Know your risks and reduce them. Retrieved August 28, 2012, from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/drugs-procedures-devices/over-the-counter/otc-medicines-know-your-risks-and-reduce-them.html [top]