Key concepts

Although the risk of drug-induced teratogenicity is of concern, the actual risk of birth defects from most drug exposures is small.

O1 The risk of birth defects is higher during organogenesis.

Counsel all women of childbearing age on the use of folic-acid containing multivitamins to prevent congenital anomalies.

Most drugs are safe during breast-feeding.

® When possible, treat conditions occurring during pregnancy with nonpharmaco-logic treatments instead of drug therapy.

® Evaluate the need for treatment, including benefits and risks. Avoid treatments that do not show evidence of benefit or that can be delayed until after pregnancy or breast-feeding.

Medication use during pregnancy and lactation is a great challenge for health professionals as pregnant and breast-feeding women are usually excluded from clinical trials. In general, medications should not be used in these populations unless benefits outweigh risks. Therefore, it is important to know on which information sources to rely, how to interpret the data retrieved from these sources, and how to communicate this information to patients. This chapter will review the available resources that help to guide therapy, general strategies to reduce risks of drug use in pregnant and lactating women, and specific recommendations for some common conditions treated during pregnancy and lactation.

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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