Although pregnancy can be exciting, it also prompts a bevy of physical and emotional changes. Reaching for a bottle of ibuprofen is no longer the simple act of a woman in search of headache relief. Everything you ingest, including medication, affects your developing baby. When a medication enters your bloodstream, it passes through the placenta and enters your baby's system, too.
Which medications are safe during pregnancy? There are no easy answers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration labels the safety of prescription drugs, ranging from antibiotics to antidepressants, according to the following system: A, B, C, D or X [source: FDA: Information]. Your doctor will help determine which medications are recommended during pregnancy.
In general, Category A medications have not shown any risk to the fetus. Category B medications, which include ibuprofen, also are not believed to pose a risk to the fetus. Category C medications may cause complications for a baby in utero but haven't really been studied in people. Category D medications, which include chemotherapy agents, present distinct health risks but may still be used in some instances. Category X drugs are known to cause birth defects and should never be used during pregnancy [source: Greenfield: Medications].
Over-the-counter medications require similar scrutiny. Get your physician's approval before taking them [source: DHHS: Medicines]. And, if you think herbal or homeopathic remedies are safer, remember these substances still pass through the placenta and affect your developing baby. When in doubt, ask your doctor.
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