Over-the-Counter Medications in Pregnancy - Article

ABSTRACT: Pregnant women commonly use over-the-counter medications. Although most over-the-counter drugs have an excellent safety profile, some have unproven safety or are known to adversely affect the fetus. The safety profile of some medications may change according to the gestational age of the fetus. Because an estimated 10 percent or more of birth defects result from maternal drug exposure, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has assigned a risk category to each drug. Many drugs have not been evaluated in controlled trials and probably will not be because of ethical considerations. Of the commonly used over-the-counter medications, acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine, kaolin and pectin preparations, and most antacids have a good safety record. Other drugs, such as histamine H2-receptor blockers, pseudoephedrine, and atropine/diphenoxylate should be used with caution. If use of smoking cessation products is desired, the intermediate-release preparations minimize the amount of nicotine while maintaining efficacy. With all over-the-counter medications used during pregnancy, the benefit of the drug should outweigh the risk to the fetus.

Potential Toxicity of Synthetic Chemicals: What You Should Know About Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals - Editorials

Health Effects of Prenatal Radiation Exposure - Article

ABSTRACT: Pregnant women are at risk of exposure to nonionizing and ionizing radiation resulting from necessary medical procedures, workplace exposure, and diagnostic or therapeutic interventions before the pregnancy is known. Nonionizing radiation includes microwave, ultrasound, radio frequency, and electromagnetic waves. In utero exposure to nonionizing radiation is not associated with significant risks; therefore, ultrasonography is safe to perform during pregnancy. Ionizing radiation includes particles and electromagnetic radiation (e.g., gamma rays, x-rays). In utero exposure to ionizing radiation can be teratogenic, carcinogenic, or mutagenic. The effects are directly related to the level of exposure and stage of fetal development. The fetus is most susceptible to radiation during organogenesis (two to seven weeks after conception) and in the early fetal period (eight to 15 weeks after conception). Noncancer health effects have not been detected at any stage of gestation after exposure to ionizing radiation of less than 0.05 Gy (5 rad). Spontaneous abortion, growth restriction, and mental retardation may occur at higher exposure levels. The risk of cancer is increased regardless of the dose. When an exposure to ionizing radiation occurs, the total fetal radiation dose should be estimated and the mother counseled about the potential risks so that she can make informed decisions about her pregnancy management.

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