Excerpt from The Birth Center Client Manual
Very little is known about how drugs affect the fetal development. Tracing a birth defect to a specific cause is almost impossible. The effect of a particular drug on a fetus may depend on many factors such as how much was taken and for how long. There are some drugs that we know definitely cause certain birth defects, but there is much more research to be done before conclusive statements can be made about most drugs.
We encourage you to abide by the following guidelines for drug intake during pregnancy.
- Avoid all drugs during the first trimester, except those prescribed for medical conditions. Make sure the prescribing practitioner knows you are pregnant.
- For nausea and vomiting of early pregnancy, Please reference the “Common Discomforts” section of your handbook or call your midwife.
- After the first trimester, it is still wise to keep drug use to a minimum.
- Tylenol: It is wise to keep use to a minimum. Problems may develop with this drug if used in large doses over a long period of time. However, there have not been any serious side effects noted on the fetuses of women who have 650mg of Tylenol on an occasional basis. Always report a fever of 100.4 or more to your midwife.
- Caffeine: The most recent study out of the National Institute of Health came to the conclusion that three or less caffeine products per day did not demonstrate any ill effects on the fetus. We still maintain the rule of thumb that, especially in the first trimester, less is best. Focus on maintaining a caffeine consumption of 500mg or less. Remember, caffeine is found not only in coffee, but also tea, sodas, chocolate and some pain relievers.
- Saccharin: Scientists are still debating whether second should be prohibited during pregnancy. Available evidence, however, suggests that you should avoid this sweetener during pregnancy.
- NO illegal drugs are considered even remotely safe to the fetus, including marijuana. There is growing support at the supposition that marijuana has similar damaging effects to cigarettes such as decreased blood flow to the placenta. Other illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin have severe ill effects on fetuses.