Pregnancy is a time of excitement and joy, but it can also be extremely stressful, too. If you are pregnant and have been prescribed medications by your doctor, you must understand the potential risks and side effects they may cause. It will help you make informed decisions about whether or not you should take them during pregnancy.
According to Precedence Research, the over-the-counter drug market was worth USD 171.47 billion globally in 2022, and it is expected to expand over USD 294.18 billion by 2030, with a compound interest growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9%.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of over-the-counter medications that have shown dangerous side effects for pregnant women:
Acetaminophen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain and fever. This medication is available over the counter, and many pregnant women use it to ease aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
However, there have been studies linking acetaminophen with an increased risk of ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and other developmental disorders among children exposed to Acetaminophen during pregnancy.
A recent study published by the National Library of Medicine (NIH) found that mothers who took acetaminophen during pregnancy were more likely than those who didn’t take this drug to have an autistic child. The researchers were able to rule out other potential causes for autism based on their study results.
In light of these potential risks associated with using this over-the-counter medication during pregnancy, people across the country are filing the Acetaminophen lawsuit against manufacturers of Tylenol (an acetaminophen brand).
The Tylenol lawsuits allege that Johnson & Johnson, major retailers, and generic acetaminophen makers failed to warn the public that using the popular drug during pregnancy could lead to autism in infants.
Bismuth subsalicylate, which is marketed under the brand name Pepto-Bismol and other names, can cause miscarriage, birth defects, and premature births.
This medication is often recommended to pregnant women because it will help with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, known as morning sickness, which many women experience during pregnancy.
However, bismuth subsalicylate is harmful to unborn children when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy or after 20 weeks into a term. It can also prevent an embryo from attaching itself properly to the uterus wall and cause placental separation from the mother’s womb wall.
This medication is available over the counter but should only be used for short periods (no longer than seven days) if needed by pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant due to its potentially harmful side effects on their unborn child.
Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine
Phenylephrine is a decongestant that can be found in over-the-counter cold medications, including Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel, Otrivin Nasal Spray, and Afrin. Pseudoephedrine is another decongestant that can be found in Sudafed Decongestant Tablets and Drixoral Multi-Symptom Cold Relief Liquid Gels.
Both phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine are not safe to take during pregnancy because they can cause birth defects and heart problems in the baby.
These medications should be avoided if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, even though they’re often labeled as “non-habit forming” or “safe when used as directed” on their packaging labels.
According to Verified Market Research, the aspirin market was worth USD 2.21 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand to USD 2.75 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 2.47% between 2023 and 2030.
Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used to treat pain, fever, and inflammation. NSAIDs can cause miscarriage, preterm labor, and bleeding in the mother and baby. Aspirin should not be taken during pregnancy unless it’s been prescribed by a doctor for a medical issue, such as arthritis or headaches.
Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which means it helps reduce pain, swelling, and other symptoms of inflammation. It’s also commonly used to reduce fever.
The first trimester is when your baby’s nervous system develops, so you must avoid taking ibuprofen during this period. If you do take ibuprofen during the first trimester of pregnancy, there’s an increased risk of miscarriage or having a baby with birth defects like heart problems or cleft lip/palate.
If you are pregnant, do not take OTC medications without consulting your doctor. Many people think these medicines are safe to use during pregnancy because they are sold over the counter, but this is not true.
These medications could have serious side effects on fetuses, and there’s no way to know unless you’ve been prescribed them by a health professional.