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You are here : home > Pregnancy > Complications during Pregnancy > Dangers of Taking OTC Medicines during Pregnancy

Dangers of Taking OTC Medicines during Pregnancy


Self-medication or taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines is not at all safe for the pregnant mother and foetus developing in her womb. Read on to learn more about the dangers of taking OTC medicines during pregnancy.


You must be aware that during pregnancy, you should avoid taking non-essential medicines. But sometimes, you suffer from minor ailments, such as constipation or cold and flu, and you feel like reaching out for your regular over-the-counter (OTC) medication. But their effects are not known for the baby growing inside your body. It can be dangerous for your baby.


How Can OTC Medicines Affect Your Developing Baby?

When you take medicines, they cross the placenta and reach the foetus, in the same route taken by nutrients and oxygen, which are important for your baby’s growth and development. OTC medicines you intake can have several effects. They can cause damage to the foetus, causing abnormal development leading to birth defects or even death. They can change the working of placenta by narrowing blood vessels and making it difficult for nutrients and oxygen to reach the foetus, leading to low birth weight and underdeveloped baby. They can also lower your blood pressure reducing blood flow to the placenta, thus reducing the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the foetus. They can pose a big threat to your baby.


Risks of Taking OTC Medicines in First Trimester

First trimester is considered as the crucial time of your pregnancy. This is the time when your baby’s body organs are developing. It will be a big risk if you intake OTC medicines during this stage. Medicines taken during this time have the potential to affect your baby’s development. This could lead to malformations or abnormalities in your baby’s development leading to severe birth defects. If a defect is very severe, it can even lead to foetal death causing miscarriage. You have to be very careful during the first 3 months.


Harmful Effects of OTC Medicines during Second Trimester

Experts say that second trimester is the safest period to take medicines, but still, you cannot completely rely on it. Different medicines have different side-effects. If you pop in some OTC medicines during the second trimester, there can be a possibility that they can interfere with the nervous system of your developing baby, which can lead to serious damage to the brain or spinal cord of your baby. The medicines can also affect the growth of your baby, resulting in a low birth weight.


Risks of Taking OTC Medicines in Third Trimester

The final three months of your pregnancy is the amazing period where you just cannot wait for your baby to come to your arms. OTC medicines do not prove to be safe during this period as well. The medicines remain in your baby’s body even after birth and your newborn may not be able to cope with it the way you can. So your baby can face breathing difficulties after birth. OTC medicines can also trigger preterm delivery by contracting the uterus forcefully.


Tips to Avoid Medicines during Pregnancy

The first thing you should try is to opt for non-drug measures. Try to take rest whenever you can, drink plenty of water, watch what you eat and maintain a balanced diet packed with nutrients, pop in your vitamin and mineral supplements that are prescribed by your doctor, and follow a healthy regimen. Try some stress busters like meditation or other relaxation techniques under the supervision of your healthcare provider. Just try to avoid taking the OTC medicines and choose safe natural alternatives which are recommended by your doctor.

If you are facing any discomfort during pregnancy, you must immediately consult your doctor. He or she is the right person to suggest remedies that can help you to cope-up with the situation. Avoid taking OTC or over-the-counter medicines at all costs to have a safe pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.


Why is it not safe to take over-the-counter (OTC) medicines during pregnancy? What are the risks of taking OTC medicines during pregnancy? How to have a medication-free pregnancy? Discuss here.

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