Dangerous Medicine during Early Pregnancy

Taking the wrong medicine may lead to birth defects or miscarriage. It’s considered dangerous drugs if it affects the pregnancy when taken by the mother.

Dangerous Medicine during Early Pregnancy

You should exercise caution with respect to taking medication during early pregnancy. Using prescription carelessly could have fatal consequences for the fetus. To guarantee your own peace of mind for the duration of your pregnancy, you should be certain about which medication you can take, and which ones you need to steer clear of.

How Medicine Affect the Fetus


Over the course of three months, different birth defects will occur depending on which point in the pregnancy medicines were taken. At 1-2 weeks, taking medicines may result in termination of the pregnancy and miscarriage. The period from 3-8 weeks is when the internal organs are forming.

At 8-15 weeks, the effect of medicine-use on the fetus is reduced. However, improper medicine use could result in cleft palate, as this is the point in the pregnancy when the fetus' mouth is forming.

Furthermore, this is when the reproductive organs are forming, and there is the possibility of androphany occurring in female fetuses. After 15 weeks, you no longer need to worry about birth defects resulting from medicine-use. You should abstain from medicine-use as much as possible during pregnancy, as it still could affect organ function, hearing or brain development. You should always exercise caution when taking medications.

Taking Medicine

Do Medicines Really Cause Birth Defects?

No, a medicine is completely safe for the fetus. But, as gynecologists note, not all birth defects are caused by medicine-use during pregnancy. Medicine-use only accounts 1% of birth defects. There are numerous situations in which medicine-use results in birth defects: expecting mothers taking medicine to fight an illness and inadvertently affecting the fetus; taking medicine to prevent the natural miscarriage of an embryo with chromosome abnormalities; taking medications with different ingredients that interact to produce a new drug, resulting in abnormalities. If you suspect your fetus has been affected by medicine-use, inquire with your physician. Remember to provide them with accurate information such as your pregnancy term, how many weeks pregnant you are when you took the medicine, dosage and ingredients.

Medicines to be Careful about

Cold Medicines

Over-the-counter cough medicines include analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, cough suppressants, etc. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs are among the most hazardous medications and you should be particularly cautious of the way they affect the fetus. Despite the well-known fact that antihistamines, for the most part, do not cause birth defects, many people still worry about their effects. Two or three days of continuous antihistamine use will not cause any abnormalities, but you should avoid using two or more medications at the same time or taking more than the proscribed dosage.

Toothache Medicines and Antidiarrheal Medicines

Suppositories, creams and hemorrhoid medicines typically contain steroids, but because they are only present in small quantities, there is no need to worry too much about these. Antidiarrheal medicines will not affect the fetus, but cases of prolonged diarrhea should be investigated.

Rhinitis and Allergy Medicines

Antihistamine testing on animals has revealed abnormalities in some cases. Though the exact effects of antihistamines on humans are still unclear, it is highly recommended that you avoid their prolonged use. Nasal sprays have very little effect on the rest of the body and can be used without too much worry.

Gastrointestinal Medicines

The main ingredients of gastrointestinal medicines include digestive enzymes, sedatives, etc. Taking these for a short period of time will not result in any pregnancy complications.

Eye Drops

Eye drops used to treat bacterial eye infections have been shown to produce abnormalities in animal testing studies. When visiting the optometrist, check to see whether or not you are pregnant first. In the event that you used eye drops before knowing you were pregnant, consults your physician to determine a course of action.

Sleep Aids

Abstain from using sleep aids as prolonged use will affect the fetus' central nervous system. In the event that you did not know you were pregnant and took a sleep aid, it is highly recommended that you receive a test for birth defects. Using sleep aids once or twice should not be a cause for concern.

Pain and Fever Reducers

Widely-used aspirin causes blood platelets to agglutinate which may affect the blood vessels linking the pulmonary artery to the large artery, leading to birth defects. Be especially cautious taking these medicines during late pregnancy. These medicines may also cause delayed birth and excessive bleeding during baby delivery.


Some cold medicines contain quinine which functions as a pain-reliever. Quinine is a drug that was once used in abortion procedures. Prolonged use of quinine during early pregnancy will result in fetal abnormalities. However, cold medicines should be no cause for concern because they contain very small amounts of the drug. Talk with your gynecologist about which cold medicines are safe to take.



You should make sure that the medicines you are taking do not contain any problematic nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. These drugs clog the fetus' arteries and cause high pulmonary blood pressure in newborns. These drugs also suppress labor pains and prolong the term of pregnancies. In particular, avoid using such medicines during late pregnancy and the time leading up to childbirth.


Diuretics aid urination but are also taken for cardiac insufficiency, chronic kidney disease, edema and so on. There is a high risk of congenital birth defects for mothers who take diuretics during early pregnancy to treat heart disease. Using diuretics during late pregnancy may cause fetal hypoglycemia, electrolyte imbalances, and other conditions.


When taken in excess, vitamins accumulate due to the body's inability to dispose them properly, resulting in fetal skeletal abnormalities. Therefore, it is important to only take the recommended vitamin dosages. In particular, excessive vitamin A absorption causes deformation of the urinary tract and reproductive organs, microcephaly, and central nervous system defects. Be careful when using pimple treatments which contain vitamin A.

Motion Sickness Medicines

Morning sickness and vomiting, which are some of the signs of pregnancy, are prevented by using sedatives, sleep aids and motion sickness medicines. However, these kinds of medicines affect the fetus' central nervous system and should not be taken during early pregnancy.

Female Hormones and Oral Contraceptives

These medicines are usually taken when a woman does not know that she is pregnant. Inform your physician if you are concerned that using these medicines has caused abnormalities.

Tuberculosis Medicines

Prolonged use of tuberculosis medicine during early pregnancy will cause poor hearing in both the expecting mother and the fetus.

Taking Traditional Chinese Medicine while Pregnant

Does it Matter if I take Traditional Chinese Medicine while Pregnant?

Some hold that using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) results in an oversized fetus and complications during childbirth, as well as mental defects. These assertions, though incorrect, leave many people with misgivings towards TCM. TCM practitioners believe that Chinese medicine does not have as great an impact on the body as Western medicine does.

Western medicine uses ingredients that expressly target specific symptoms, they are highly medicinal and produce side-effects; TCM, on the other hand, uses natural plant and animal ingredients, is not highly medicinal and has a minimal effect on the fetus. Western medicine relies on the efficacy of its drugs to treat illnesses; TCM serves to enhance the body's own immunities in order to increase the effectiveness of medical treatments. On the topic of medicine-use during pregnancy, the prescription Western medicine gives is "unconditional temporary abstinence"; whereas TCM prescribes "tocolytics" for expecting mothers. These are two very different approaches.

When is the Best Time to Try TCM?

There are no rules about when you should take TCM. If you get sick when you are pregnant, use TCM as needed. TCM has its own 10-month fetal nourishment regimen that indicates which foods and supplements benefit the fetus depending on the month. From a modern perspective, this regimen was devised to help expecting mothers prevent pre-mature birth, ensure healthy fetal development and avoid birth complications according to their term of pregnancy and physical condition.

Remember, the mother should always be cautious in taking medicine while pregnant. In case you’re not aware that you’re pregnant and took a medicine, seek the doctor’s help immediately.

Sandra Henderson

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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