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Prescribing in pregnancy 

Prescribing in pregnancy

Prescribing in pregnancy

Peter Rubin

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date: 25 April 2017

Only prescribe if it is essential to do so—the guiding principle when prescribing in pregnancy, or in a woman who may become pregnant, is to use no drug at all if possible. If it is necessary to prescribe, then use the smallest number of drugs in the lowest possible doses, balancing the benefits of treatment for the mother against what (if anything) is known about its risks to the developing baby. Prepregnancy evaluation is invaluable for chronic conditions.

Stage of pregnancy—the period of organogenesis, which extends for about 2 months following the last period, is the critical time for major structural abnormalities, but growth and development can be affected by some drugs in the remainder of pregnancy.

Handling of drugs by the body—the distribution and elimination of some drugs is affected to a clinically significant extent by pregnancy.

Breastfeeding—many commonly used drugs, including some that are unsafe in pregnancy, can safely be used by mothers who are breastfeeding.

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