Basic information for topics, such as “What is it?” is available in the About Pharmacology section. Answers to other frequently asked questions (FAQs) specific to pharmacology are in this section.
Because some medications can harm a developing fetus, it is important to tell your healthcare 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 that first appeared during pregnancy, like diabetes, asthma, heartburn, or morning sickness. Other women take medications to treat conditions they had before they became pregnant. Often, your healthcare 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.
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 healthcare provider about the side effects of any medication you may be taking. In addition, known 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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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 April 29, 2013, from https://www.fda.gov/consumers/free-publications-women/medicine-and-pregnancy
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Treating for two: Medication use during pregnancy. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/treatingfortwo/index.html
- American Academy of Family Physicians. (2012). OTC medicines: Know your risks and reduce them. Retrieved April 29, 2013, from https://familydoctor.org/otc-medicines-know-your-risks-and-reduce-them/