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Medications During Pregnancy?

Larry O. Sanders, MD. PC

Perhaps one of the most difficult decision a woman faces is whether of not to take medications while pregnant or planning to become pregnant.  While some medications can cause problems during pregnancy, many do not and for most medications, it is unstudied.  But, it is known that being ill (Depressed, Anxious, Manic, Psychotic) during pregnancy also causes risk to the developing fetus.  Certainly, you want to avoid medications with known problems (Depakote) and meds with possible problems (Paxil, Effexor); but, being on no medications while ill can also cause significant problems to the developing fetus due to increased inflammatory factors caused by the illness itself.

When we are ill, whether mental or physical, our body responds by producing inflammatory factors.  These circulate through our brain and bloodstream and also to the placenta into the developing fetus.  So in some cases, not taking medications to reduce the illness and thereby reduce the circulating inflammatory factors, a woman may inadvertently cause harm to the developing baby.  While there is still much unknown, educating yourself so that you make the best decision for yourself is my recommendation.  The best source of which I know is www.womensmentalhealth.org.  It is run by Lee Cohen, MD, PhD from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.  Dr. Cohen and colleagues have been studying this issue for over 30 years and are an excellent source of information.