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How To Tell When Medicine Is Safe For You And Your Baby

There may come a time during your pregnancy when you’re feeling under the weather and aren’t sure if you can take your regular over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Some medications are safe to take during pregnancy. But others are not, or their effects on your baby may not be known.

When you meet with your doctor to confirm you’re pregnant, ask what meds are OK to take and what meds you need to find alternatives for. Your health care provider will weigh the risks and benefits to help you know what’s safe. Also, tell your doctor about any alternative medicines or supplements you take, even if the label says “natural.” And if you get any new prescriptions while you’re pregnant, make sure the people who prescribe them know that you’re pregnant.

Get expert advice before giving medication to your baby

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Certain medications may not be appropriate for your baby, so you should ask your health care provider before giving your child any medication. If he or she has recommended medicine for your infant, ask questions to be sure you are using the right dose.

Store medications safely

Store any medications that you or your baby may take out of the reach of your child. Doctors note that babies can start to crawl as early as 5 to 6 months. But even if babies are under the age when you’d expect them to be able to get your medication, get into the habit of putting medication out of their reach.

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Also read all storage instructions. For instance, some antibiotics need to be kept in the refrigerator. So you want to make sure you’re storing it according to the instructions. If you have questions about how to safely store a medicine, contact your pharmacist or other health care provider.

Watch for reactions in your baby

When taking any medication, watch closely for reactions in your baby, including loss of appetite, diarrhea, sleepiness, excessive crying, vomiting, or skin rashes. Call your baby’s pediatrician immediately if any of these symptoms appear.

Herbal and homeopathic medicines

Prenatal vitamins are safe and important to take when you’re pregnant. Ask your health care provider about the safety of taking other vitamins, herbal remedies, and supplements. While many homeopathic and herbal remedies are generally safe, some remedies may be harmful to breastfeeding women and infants. In many cases, very little scientific research has been done regarding the implications of using such treatments while nursing.

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Seek advice before stopping the medication

If mothers are taking medications, it’s important to ask their health care provider whether it’s okay to breastfeed. Moms should ask about any prescription or over-the-counter products, including supplements. Stopping medication can be dangerous for some women with chronic health problems, Sahin notes, but some medications can pass through breast milk and may not be safe for your baby. So check with your health care provider if you are breastfeeding, or plan to breastfeed, and if you are taking any medication.

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