Medication use in pregnancy; treating the mother: Protecting the unborn

Yifat Gadot, Gideon Koren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Each year, numerous new medications enter the market. The formal labeling for most of these drugs does not contain safety data related to exposure during gestation. However, millions of pregnant women have conditions that need to be treated such as diabetes, urinary tract infections and nausea and vomiting. The paucity of knowledge in regard to fetal safety of medications introduces significant challenges for practitioners, and situates the mother at risk of insufficient therapy for her disease, and her unborn baby at a potential risk of toxicity (McBride 1978; Koren 2013). For the vast majority of drugs which have been evaluated in pregnancy, large amount of data have failed to show fetal risks in humans (Koren et al. 1998). Most women are exposed to medications in pregnancy and although quite few medications have been shown to be teratogenic in humans, high levels of anxiety, coupled with misinformation and misperception, lead women and their prescribers to commonly avoid drug therapy even in life threatening conditions. It is critical for clinicians to always consider the risks of the untreated conditions in pregnancy and as needed, to empower women to use medications during gestation. Presently, we must change the climate whereby pregnant women and their unborn babies become therapeutic orphans.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedicines for Women
Number of pages41
ISBN (Electronic)9783319124063
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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