The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prepared a list of medicines to avoid while pregnant. It possesses a system that ranks drugs with regards to their safety during pregnancy. However, not all drugs are subject to tests to ensure their safety to pregnant women. Therefore, it is advisable to take any medication, only after consultation with your doctor.
The FDA Ranking Of Drugs
"A" Category - these drugs have been tested in terms of safety parameters and have been found harmless during pregnancy. They are vitamin B6, folic acid, and thyroid medication, in moderate or prescribed amounts.
"B" Category - these drugs have been utilized much during pregnancy and are not found to cause any big birth disorders or other pregnancy side effects. They include acetaminophen (Tylenol), certain antibiotics, aspartame (artificial sweetener), prednisone (cortisone), famotidine (Pepcid), ibuprofin (Advil, Motrin), and insulin (for diabetes). However, during the last trimester, ibuprofen is not recommended.
"C" Category - these drugs have possibilities to create complications during pregnancy. Some of them are in the trial stage of safety tests. Such drugs contain a warning that they should be used only if they are absolutely necessary and as a last resort. The medications to avoid during pregnancy are Sudafed, prochlorperzaine (Compazine), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), and fluconazole (Diflucan).
"D" Catergory - these drugs show clear risks for health of the developing fetus. They contain alcohol, phenytoin (Dilantin), and lithium (used in the treatment of manic depression). The chemotherapy drugs used for cancer treatment also come in this list. However, in certain cases, such drugs have to be administered during pregnancy. They should be done so under strict medical supervision.
"X" Category - these drugs have been proved to cause birth disorders and pregnant women must never take them. Such medicines include psoriasis (Tegison or Soriatane) and cystic acne (Accutane), which are used for skin treatment; thalidomide, which is a sedative; and diethylstilbestrol (DES), which had been used for prevention of miscarriage in America until 1971 and in Europe until 1993.
The other drugs that come in the list are aspirin and salicylate containing drugs. They are particularly harmful in the last trimester. In case it's absolutely essential to use such drugs, they should be used under close scrutiny. You should also avoid the use of certain over-the-counter painkillers, as most of them contain cetylsalicaylate. This compound may make your pregnancy longer and even cause bleeding before and/or after childbirth.
Talk to your doctor, and read books and articles to know more about medicines to avoid while pregnant.