Women take prescribed, over-the-counter, complementary and lifestyle medications for various reasons when planning or during their pregnancy.
Many women take micronutrient supplements before, during and after pregnancy to ensure they and their baby are receiving adequate vitamins and minerals. A common one is folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects in the baby’s brain and spinal cord. (These are the five common pregnancy symptoms no one ever warns you about. Post continues after video.)
Many women also take medications for pregnancy-related conditions such as morning sickness.
Medication during pregnancy may also be necessary due to incidental illnesses such as coughs and colds, or to manage a pre-existing condition.
For women to be able to assess the risks and benefits of a medicine in pregnancy, they need to understand three key concepts.