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Pregnancy and Prescription Medications

If you’re pregnant, then the idea of “change” isn’t new to you, but many prospective parents aren’t prepared for the changes that will be made to your daily life before your child arrives.   If you take prescription drugs, then hold on to your hats.  You’ll be making some changes to your medicine cabinet sooner than later.  Whether you take prescription drugs or are addicted to them, the outcome could be the same.  You could be harming your baby.  Let's take a look at the "hows" and "whys" what should be done because of it.

Many prescription drugs have an addictive quality.  It is imperative that you stick to your doctor’s prescribed dosage.  It’s easier than you think to become addicted.  Some commonly addicted medications are:

  1. Opiods: Commonly prescribed pain medications for moderate to severe pain. Widely known names for these medications include: Hydrocodone (Vicodin), methylmorphine (Codeine), OxyCodone (OxyContin), Meperidine (Demerol), Hydromorphone (Dialudid)
  2. CNS Depressants: Common anxiety and sleep medications. Widely known  names for these medications include: Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), Amitriptyline Hydrochloride (Elavil)
  3. Stimulants: Common medications used to treat Narcolepsy and Attention Deficit Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome. Widely known names for these medications include: Methylphenidate (Ritalin), Dextroamphetime (Dexedrine), Atomoxetine (Strattera)

Many of these commonly prescribed medications can be harmful to your baby.  Morphine, Codeine, Xanax, Ritalin, and Oxycontin are just a few of these types of medications that can all harm your child.  What should you do if you are taking these medications and you are pregnant? Contact your OBGYN or health provider immediately.

How do you know if you are abusing your medications? Some questions to ask yourself would be:

  1. Am I taking more than my prescribed dose?
  2. Am I taking it more often than my prescription says I should?
  3. Am I taking the medication to relieve symptoms the medication was not prescribed for?

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Tremor
  3. Cold Sweats/Hot Flush
  4. Restless Legs
  5. Depression
  6. Teeth Grinding
  7. Muscle Tics
  8. Loose Bowel Movements
  9. Loss of Appetite

If you are abusing medication and are pregnant, don’t be afraid to contact your health provider and ask for help.  Don’t let the idea of quitting overwhelm you.  There are many methods your health provider can offer to help you beat your addiction. Your health provider will be able to set up a plan to safely treat your addiction and offer support options for the times when temptation may occur.

When you first become pregnant, your health care provider will ask you about your daily habits, from calorie intake to smoking habits. Be honest. If you abuse any medication, even non-prescription strength medications, tell your health care provider. Your baby depends on you to keep your body healthy.  Your health care provider will be able to support you in any problem areas you may be experiencing. 

If you would like to talk with someone about your addiction or need support, try contacting any one of these organizations for help:

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence 1-800-622-2255

Recovery Connection 1-800-993-3869

Narcotics Anonymous 1-818-773-9999

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