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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Pregnancy

Related Women's Issues

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

[posted 11/21/1999]
Question: Approximately 3 months ago I had oral sex with a guy. We have since broken up, but I have only had one period since. I have also gained some weight. Could I be pregnant at all?
If I'm not pregnent, what could the reasons be for the missed periods?

Answer: You would need sperm to enter your uterus to become pregnant. Oral sex would not do this. There are rare cases of sperm ejaculation around the vaginal opening which has resulted in pregnancy-but extremely rare. Get a pregnancy test and call your ob/gyn for an evaluation.

[posted 11/19/1999]
Question: I just found out that I am pregnant, four/five weeks. At the same time, I found out that I have an UTI. I was prescribed a 10 day course of Macrobid (100mg two times a day). I am very concerned about taking this in the first trimester. I'm afraid this will impact the baby. Should I take this drug now or wait.

Answer: This is a Class B drug for pregnancy. This is one of the better ratings. In general, we think there is little toxicity for the fetus with this drug. There is also a risk of miscarriage with an untreated UTI, especially in early pregnancy. Other low risk antibiotics would be the penicillins, for a UTI amoxicillin would be a good choice. But, probably little difference between these drugs in terms of risk.

[posted 11/7/1999]
Question: Is it safe to take Gas-X when pregnant? The active ingredient is simethicone.

Answer: Shouldn't be a problem.

[posted 11/13/1999]
Question: I just learned I was pregnant. Within a day or two of probable conception, I developed a rash. I was prescribed prednisone. I took 20mg 3 times a day for 3 days (60mg/day), 20 mg 2 times a day for 3 days (40 mg/day, 10mg 2 times a day for 3 days (20mg/day) and 10mg for 1 day. I was wondering what effects the drug can have on a fetus at this early stage (first two weeks). I saw your posting regarding smaller dosages of prednisone during pregnancy, but I didn't know if the answer was the same -- and exactly what "little" in "little problem" meant. Thank you in advance!!

Answer: I doubt you will have a problem. The problem with steroids is thought to be adrenal suppression of the fetal adrenal glands. The glands do not develop until about 3-4 months and it takes a while to achieve the problem. Taking them early would be of little risk. Little refers to the fact that we don't always know and physicians use these terms because we have few absolutes and we learn to hedge.

[posted 11/13/1999]
Question: on sunday night a small rash appeared on my rigth shoulder i thought could be the a heat rash,but since that time i got on my arms,legs,tighs,is pretty itching,one of my arm have along red part,i am 4 months pregnant,the gyn/ob told me has nothing to do with my pregnancy i saw a dermatologist he put me ao pandel,took some blood test what this could be?could this affect my baby,the one on my arm burning sensasion.help me please

Answer: Unlikely to affect your baby unless it is a systemic infection which sounds unlikely. The cream would not be expected to have any effects unless you use huge amounts.

[posted 11/9/1999]
Question: I recently stoped taking the depo shot about 4 weeks ago after taking it for 3.5 years. I am trying to get pregnant but want to know if the shot is still in my system will it affect an at home pregnany test?

Does there need to be some bleeding or do I need to get my period before I can get pregnant, since that is a sign a ovulation?

If I do get pregnant will there be any signs of pregnany? I had a friend get pregnant on the shot and not one sign of beng pregnant? (example morning sickness, being emotional,etc) Until she started to gain weight.

Answer: It may be in your system but will not interfere with the pregnancy test. The test is for Beta HCG a hormone made by the placenta. You will probably get a period but not always. The signs of pregnancy are very individual. Some individuals have a lot/severe amount some do not. But the shot will not alter this.

[posted 11/4/1999]
Question: We are planning a baby and would like to know when I should stop taking Lipitor?

Answer: A month before conception would be more than enough.

[posted 11/4/1999]
Question: I've been on atenolol since February 1999. Initially with 25 mg and gradually reduced to 12.5 mg per day. Medication and a change of lifestyle has helped to reduce reading to 130/90. However, reading shoots up to 150/110 during pre and during menstruation, possibly due to low estrogen level? I have a seven year old child. Is is safe to conceive? I've attempted methydolpha but experienced adverse side effects -- poor control of blood pressure and lost of concentration. Isn't there any drug other than methlydopha and atenolol that is safe for pregnancy?

Answer: Quite a few actually, most would allow a diuretic but beta blockers are the safest. Calcium channel blockers might be ok but are still pretty new in this area.

[posted 11/4/1999]
Question: I was wondering if I could be pregnant and on the pill and still get last months period. I also wanted to know how soon can the doctor tell if I am pregnant if I am still bleeding during menstrual time. Last months period was extremely light.

Answer: You can have some bleeding a week or so after fertilization when the embryo is implanting in the uterus. But, this is usually of very short duration a day or two at the most. You can usually detect pregnancy 3-4 weeks after conception with the commercial kits available in the pharmacy and 2-3 weeks with a blood test at your doctors.

[posted 08/16/1999]
Question: I am a 29 year old female recently diagnosed with sensory seizures. I am currently taking
100mg tegretol three times a day. Is pregnancy an option while i'm on this medication? How high is the risk of birth defects
with this drug?

Answer: Tegretol can clearly cause harm to a fetus. There appears to be an association between in and spina bifida, not a good drug with pregnancy.

[posted 08/16/1999]
Question: I was taking percocet for pain and trying to get pregnant at the same time
what are the chances that it prevented me from becoming pregnant.
Or it doesn't affect that situation.

Answer: Not the problem.

[posted 08/15/1999]
Question: This last week, I had my Gallbladder removed. The surgeon told me that my condition was most likely aggravated by my recent Preganancy (4 weeks ago today I had my daughter). I know know that I had had a gallbladder attack at 5 weeks (in nov.), at 31 weeks and at 35 weeks, but had been misdiagonsed. My mother called many of her friends and family to pray for me, and the women mentioned that they also had galbladder attacks or complications during or directly after their pregnancy. I then looked though all of the pregnancy books that my mother and I have, and saw nothing about the gallbladder. My question is, If women at at risk for gallbladder problems, and the hormones from pregnancy aggravate the gallbladder, why is this not mention by more doctors or books as a possible concern? I and many women think we have gas or indigestion, and live with this problems for years. I was lucky enough to catch it early, on my leave, so I don't have to take off anymore work for recovery.

Answer: Pretty common problem with high levels of estrogen/progesterone either while pregnant or on birth control pills.

[posted 08/13/1999]
Question: I am a 33 year old mother of 2 my daughter is 8 and my son is now 9 months. I haven't been feeling myself. Some signs were infrequent palpatations in my chest, fatigue, and not thinking straight. I said to my husband I am just not feeling right. I know my body and something's wrong. I went to the doctor and he sent me for a full function thyroid test T3,T4, and TSH. According to him my range is 4.2 and under and mine was 4.9. Not drastically off, but still off. He started me on synthroid 0.25mg and wants to check my TSH in a month. I started feeling bad during my last pregnancy, and this is when I think this started with me. I also nursed my son as I did with my first child, and so I attributed a lot of how I felt from being a new mom. I just stopped nursing on August 5th so I could take care of myself with medication. I saw the doctor the 6th, took a blood test on the 9th, and on the 10th started the medication. I was wondering if I should be taking medication since your body does get out of whack with pregnancy, and is this something that could of leveled itself out? Thyroidism does not run in my family, and I was surprised to learn of my condition. I also did have some very heavy mentruals like in the first few days of it and then it would be ok. Also once a few months back I had one where I hardly bled, but have been ok since. Could that have been a symptom? I am going to see an endocrinologist to be safe. I have read where lots of physicians are just interested in blood levels, and not really about how you feel. I just want to be that energetic mom again, where normal housework doesn't make me want to take a nap. I know some of the tiredness is due to the baby, and on how well I sleep. I hope you can shed some light on this issue. Thank you!
PS The doctor also said that an infection could cause this is this true? I did have a bad urine infection early in the pregnancy that took 2 straight doses of antibiotics to get rid of. Could this have done it?
Yvonne Shirk

Answer: I'm assuming from your question that your TSH is 4.9. An elevated TSH of this level would not be responsible for the fatigue that you are feeling. I would not argue with replacing it to see if you would be better, but, generally the replacement dosage would be 0.1 mg or so possibly 0.15-.25 would bea a very high dosage. The most common causes of post pregnancy fatigue are anemia from delivery, post prandial depression and sleep deprivation from being up all night. I would get a complete evaluation, but your fatigue is not due to the thyroid condition in all probability.

Pregnancy & Apo Sulfatrim DS  [posted 12/08/98]
Question: I was wondering what effects Apo Sulfatrim DS may have concerning pregnancy. I just finished taking this drug for a peroid of 1 week. My wife and I will be trying to concieve and I am wondering what effect this drug may have on a child. Also my wife also took this same drug 1 month ago due to the same problem (Bladder Infection). Are there any risks to our future child because we both took this drug so recently and now we are trying to concieve? Also my wife's bladder infection seems to reoccur evry 2-3 months. What if it occurs while she is pregnant ? What effects will this drug have on her and the baby then ?  Thank-you

Answer: It would only have an effect after conception. There are options for treatment while pregnant, penicillin is usually very safe.

Pregnancy Test  [posted 12/08/98]
Question: Can Macrobid cause "false" negative results in pregnancy tests?

Answer: No.

Pregnancy &  Medication   [posted 12/04/98]
Question: I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and have taken Tylox a couple of times recently for migrane headaches. Also, before I knew I was pregnant (probably about 3 weeks) I was taking quite a lot of Firocet for migranes, but stopped when I found out I was pregnant. Could either of these harmed the fetus in any way, I am worried.

Answer: Probably not.

Pregnancy &  Macrobid   [posted 12/01/98]
Question: I was prescribed Macrobid for a bladder infection while 8 months pregnant. Are there any known problems associated with this while being pregnant. Could my fits of crying be associated with taking this drug. I noticed I've been crying a lot since I started taking. Also, it says it causes drowsiness - what is in it that causes this and is it being passed onto baby?

Answer: Drowsiness and mental status changes would be very unusual. Risk to the fetus is very small, a well tolerated drug.

Pregnancy &  Anxiety Medication [posted 11/25/98]
Question: I have been trying to conceive for two years, and am currently using Fertinex and Profasi. I have been taking Zoloft (50 mg for a long time, then 100 mg. for about a year) Recently, I have been experiencing a great deal of anxiety, and my counselor referred me to a psychiatrist for a medicine eval. He seemed quite ready to switch me to either Celexa or Serzone until he heard I was trying to conceive. He then rpofessed little knowledge of pregnancy safety, and said the only potentially safe drug was Prozac. He asked me to reduce my Zoloft to 50 mg for a week, then switch to 10mg Prozac daily. I took Prozac several years ago, and found that it made me agitated (hence the switch to Zoloft). After four days on 50 mg, I've cried all four days. Is there enough biochemical difference between Zoloft and Prozac for one to be significanly "safer" than the other? Do you have any pertinent info on Celexa, Serzone, or Buspar use in pregnancy?

Answer:  There isn't any significant difference between Prozac and Zoloft in either effect or safety in pregnancy. Celexa is pretty new so there is no direct experience.Serzone and Buspar don't appear to be serious side effects;but, direct studies have not been done.

Pregnancy &  Medication [posted 11/24/98]
Question: I have just found out that I am five weeks pregnant. Up until a day ago I was taking prescribed medication for a gastric ulcer - Losac 20mg daily which was changed to Somac 40mg daily two weeks ago (these are both Australian trade names, I am not sure of the generic names but they are both proton pump inhibitors). I would like to know whether this medication could be harmful to the developing embryo. I would also like to know what medication is recommended for treatment of gastric ulcers during pregnancy.

Answer: H2 blockers are probably ok. But, we don't use any medication unless there are severe problems. You will need calcium anyway, so use calcium carbonate or gluconate(Tums) which usually will address two problems.

Pregnancy While on Various medications [posted 11/24/98]
Question:  I am presently 10 wks pregnant. When my pregnancy was confirmed at 5 wks, I was taking aldomet 500/mg 3x/day, dyazide 37.5 mg 1x/day and tenormin 50mg 1x/day for high blood pressure. I stopped taking the dyazide and tenormin right after I found out I was pregnant and recently discontinued the aldoment. My blood pressure has been fine. I understand that the aldomet is a category B drug, the dyazide a category C drug and the tenormin a category D drug. I am concerned about what effect these drugs have had on my fetus. Neither my primary doctor nor my ob/gyn have been able to provide me with any significant information. Should I be concerned about birth defects, or were the drugs stopped early enough? Thank you.

Answer: Probably early enough, none in spite of their class seems to have many problems with human fetusus. 

Pregnancy While on Retin-A [posted 11/17/98]
Question: I am two months pregnant and have used Retin-A (0/025% Tretinoin) for the warts on my arm. I've used an amount similiar to the size of a pea on and off maybe ten times. Have I caused irreparable damage? Is there anything I can do to reverse it? I would appreciate anything you could tell me. I'm pretty close to being frantic.
Answer: Probably not, but, you won't know for certain til birth. Does your doctor know? You will need some type of additional monitoring/analysis.

Pregnancy While on Klonopin & Prozac [posted 11/13/98]
Question: I have been taking 1/2 of .5mg Klonopin for the past five years for panic disorder (dosage was tapered down to 1/2 over the five years). I am also taking 20mg of prozac daily for OCD. I would like to get pregnant and know I can relatively be safe on Prozac, but is my low dosage of Klonopin okay to stay on? Will it cause a cleft pallate? What are the risks of getting pregnant on these medications?

Answer: Not usually a big problem except post partum addiction on the fetuses part. Unlikely to cause cleft palate;but, try to get by with as little as possible.

OTC Drugs and Alcohol While Pregnant [posted 11/13/98]
Question: My question regards the OTC drug "Mini T's",containing ephedrine and guafenesein.In my first two months of pregnancy I took the drug excessively(aprox.9+ tabs per day).I am no longer taking this,and I am now 13 weeks along. My question is this: Have I caused my baby harm with this drug? Also,on three occassions prior to my finding out,I drank alcohol,I am very concerned...please help..I had no knoweledge that I was pregnant and am worried of the damage I may have caused my child.I took the Mini T's for energy,so also,is there a safe,herb or vitamin that could help with energy while I am pregnant?

Answer: I'd be more concerned with the alcohol, but, you really won't know til delivery.

Will Birth Control Pills Cause a False-Postive Pregnancy Test [posted 11/11/98]
Question: I have been taking triphasil-28 for over a year. I have not had any serious side effects from this drug, and have been pleased with it so far. My question is this: I have not missed any pills but have had recent breast tenderness and swelling, and a slight weight gain. If I took a pregnancy test, would I get a false-positive result?

Answer: No.

Drug Interaction & Safety During Pregnancy [posted 11/11/98]
Question: What is the effect or level of safety in the use of aspertame (such as nutrasweet), and phenylketonurics, during pregnancy? I use a popular antacid gum that contains the above and like to add nutrasweet to decaf coffee. Some have told me this can cause retardation?

Answer: Can't say, but, most advise to avoid anything you don't need during pregnancy.

Preganancy & Medications [posted 10/1/98]
Question: I was wondering if you could give me some information. I am a 27 year old female with the following conditions: Glomerulonephritis, Glutenenteropathy, Cystinuria, Migraines and High Blood Pressure. I am taking the following medications: Zestril, Amitriptyline, Hydrochlorthiazide, {Tylenol #3 and Ferional C 1/2 for my migraines}. My question to you then is: Can I continue taking these medications if I am pregnant. I just recently moved to a new country and have not seen a doctor yet, I am waiting a couple of more weeks before I go. So any information you can provide would be a great help. I look forward to your reply.

Answer: I wouldn't worry about the medications as much as the potential for renal problems while pregnant. Glomeronephritis is a potenially serious disease if not controlled. I would ensure than there is no active renal disease prior to getting pregnant. The medications are relatively low risk;but, controlled studies have not been performed on any of these drugs.

Pregnancy & Anithistamine / Decongestant Use [posted 11/5/98]
Question: I am seventeen, 3 months pregnant, take .225 mg synthroid a day and am really suffering from hay fever and am very congested. Which antihistamines/decongestants are safe and can I combine them?

Answer: I would use nasal steroids. Very low absorption and very effective. Also nasalcrom-available otc-is very effective and not absorbed at all. Avoid systemic drugs if possible.

Concerns About Getting Pregnant While on Trazadone & Zoloft [posted 10/30/98]
Question: I am currently taking Trazadone 150 mg and Zoloft 50 mg. I would like to know if it is safe to get pregnant while on these drugs and if it is safe to continue taking them while pregnant?

Answer: No clear data on pregnancies on these medications as usual. Trazadone is a class C drug with rat studies showing increased fetal deformaties. Zoloft is a class C as well with delayed ossification noted in rat fetuses. Probably best to avoid them if possible.

Concerns About Medication & New Pregnancy [posted 10/29/98]
Question: My wife and I just found out that she is pregnant. She has been taking one 250MG tablet daily of Lamisil for about the past 3 weeks ( for a foot fungus ). She has also taken 1 2.5MG tablet of naratriptan( trying to ward off a migraine ). We are concerned about possible adverse effects from either of these medications, particularly the Lamisil, as this is a daily dosage. Any information you could send would be very helpful.

Answer: There is no direct information on Lamisil concerning pregnancy. However, it is classed as a Class B drug which is lower on the risk ladder. Naratriptan is too new for me to have much information concerning pregnancy yet. Do you have the manufacturer?

When to Confirm Pregnancy [posted 10/29/98]
Question: I stopped taking Desogen approximately six weeks ago. I had a period immediately following. However, I have not had a period since that time. How long will it take for my periods to regulate after stopping? When should I become suspicious of being pregnant?

Answer: If you had one period you're probably not pregnant. However, check 3-4 weeks after missing a period for confirmation.

Examining Potential Problems with Pregnnancy & Antidepressant Drugs [posted 10/28/98]
Question: In October, my husband and I would like to start a family. I have a 3yr history of severe depression. I have run the gammat of meds and have had 7 ECT's. Last year about 3mos after my ECT's i developed a seizure disorder. I had been taking 80mg Prozac, .5mg xanax(as needed), 400mg Dilantin 4days/wk and 600mg of Dilantin 3days/wk. Approx. 2wks ago my doctor took me off of Prozac and Xanax and has me now trying 50mg Zoloft, 15mg in am and 15mg in pm of BuSpar, and .5mg 3xday of Clonazepam(Klonapin) and, of course I'm still taking the same amount of Dilantin. I don't know if this is the combination I will continue with or if I will go back to the Prozac & Xanax combo. These seem to be the only options now. My question is how will this effect me getting pregnant, my baby prenatally and then breast feeding. If you could please let me know your opinion on each senario, I would appreciate it. I know I do have to remain on some kind of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant, I would just like to know what is the safest.

Answer: As complicated as the regimens are, I would recommend you discuss this with an Ob gyn. Long term studies of the SRI antidepressants have not really been done(babies born to mothers on SRI antidepressants). Specific studies of these medication have not(and will not) been done due to ethical problems. The problem is that you will need your antiseizure meds as well as anxiety/depression meds to get through the pregnancy. Consequently, you have little choice in taking the medications. This will take very close coordination between your psychiatrist, neurologist and ob-start now developing this coordination.

No Breastmilk After Giving Birth [posted 10/23/98]
Question: After giving birth to my son, I wanted so much to breastfeed but I never had even a drop of breastmilk , is something wrong?

Answer: Pretty common 10-25% of women are unable to either breast feed at all or in adequate volumes. Sometimes this "corrects" after subsequent pregnancies, sometimes not.

Pregnancy When On the Pill [posted 10/21/98]
Question: If I am on the pill, but somehow become pregnant, will I still get a period or withdrawal bleed?

Answer: If you get pregnant the bleeding will stop.

Pregnancy & Seizures [posted 10/21/98]
Question: Can you tell me if you can have problems with seizures if you are on medication to prevent seizures, and become pregnant? I wondered if the stress of pregnancy on the body could bring on seizures? Also is there a chance of birth defects with Depekane medication?

Answer: Doesn't increase seizures. But, the pregnancy can change the metabolism of the seizure drugs and the levels need to be checked more frequently. There is no direct testing of Depakane on human fetuses;however, it is a class D drug with a specific warning of neurotube defects in women taking the drug. To be avoided if possible.

Safety of Sunscreen Use During Pregnancy [posted 10/21/98]
Question: I understand that sunscreens are considered a non-prescription drug. Is it safe to use sunscreen on a daily basis while you are pregnant? I'm not out in the sun a lot, but I wear sunscreen daily to protect from incidental UV exposure. Some of the ingredients in sunscreens are octyl dimethyl cinnamate, avobenzone (Parsol), titanium dioxide, zinc oxide...just to name a few.

Answer: Probably safe, but, never specifically tested.

Effects of a Father's Cocaine Use [posted 10/15/98]
Question: Is there any effect of a fetus if the father was a cocaine user? Does it in any way affect sperm?

Answer: Doesn't appear to in any way that would affect the fetus.

Ibuprofen Use While trying to Get Pregnant [posted 10/13/98]
Question: I get frequent migraine headaches and find that Ibuprofen is the only thing that helps. I usually only take one tablet (200 mg)every two or three weeks when it's bad. On the package it is recommended that this drug not be used during pregnancy. What about while I'm trying to get pregnant? Is there any risk in using this tablet in early pregnancy, before I even know I'm pregnant? Or should I avoid taking any tablets if there is a possibility that I am pregnant? If I get pregnant, is there any particular part of the pregnancy that it is particularly unwise or definitely Ok to take a tablet?

Answer: The reason not to use any of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories is the potential effect on different fetal tissues. That is to close or change some of the normal "holes" in the heart prematurely or affect the platelets and increase the risk of bleeding at delivery. Usually, they can be taken until the last trimester if necessary;but, we prefer acetaminophen. If this doesn't work, acetaminophen with codeine is very effective and would have minimal effect on the fetus if only used occasionally.

Pregnancy & Flu Medications [posted 10/6/98]
Question: I am looking for on OTC medication for fever, headache, aches, and pain probably flu. I am pregnant and two weeks overdue. What is your recommendation?

Answer: Acetaminophen.

Pregnancy & Nursing while on Lithium [posted 10/2/98]
Question:I have bipolar disorder that responds very well to Lithium, 1200mg/day. I recently gave birth to my third child (on 6/21/98). I do not take Lithium during my pregnancy and I feel wonderful (very euthymic) pregnancy seems to be "protective" for me. However, I always have problems in the postpartum period. I want to breastffeed so I do not resume Lithium after delivery.. Now I am 8 weeks postpartum and having hypomanic symptoms (pressured speech, flight of ideas, extreme irritability and emotional lability, difficulty falling asleep) and I know it is time to start lithium. My question: what percent of the plasma concentration of lithium is secreted in breast milk? The PDR says only that lithium is secreted and discourages nursing an infant while on it, but does not elaborate. I would very much like to continue nursing, if only twice a day. Is there any new information on the risks of lithium to the nursing infant?

Answer: Stop breast feeding. Your mental health will be more important to the well being of your child. Do not risk the lithium in their early development.

Pregnancy [posted 10/1/98]
Question: I recently was vaccinated against measles (not Rubella). I need to get a booster around 8/31. My endocrinologist said no problem with regards to becoming pregnant. My family doctor told me I would have to wait three months. As I am 35 and have been "working on" becoming pregnant for over a year, I am not sure what to do. I was just put on Parlodel (three wks ago) but have been being careful as I am not sure who to believe. What is your recommendation?

Answer: Don't get pregnant for 3 months, 2 might be ok.

Pregnancy [posted 8/14/98]
Question: I recently found out I am pregnant. I am taking Xanax and Luvox. What effects will these have on my baby? I was told I may have to terminate the pregnancy because of my taking Xanax (2 mg Xanax and 25 mg Luvox). Now I am scared - what should I do?

Answer: Don't worry about the xanax, it should have minimal/no effect. Consider how common this drug and its cousins are - there is minimal information concerning problems for the millions of women taking it (some of whom become pregnant). Luvox is relatively new and there is much less data. Early information looks promising in terms of low risk, but still not known. Don't be too concerned about this.

Factors Affecting Pregnancy [posted 8/6/98]
Question: To a gynecologist/obstetrician: I have a Herrington Rod in my back for treatment of scoliosis. It's fused at the base of my neck to my tail bone. Will there be any special considerations while carrying a baby and/or during delivery? I have been told I have an inverted cervix (turned inside out), and I have never been pregnant. What does this mean and will I have trouble conceiving? I've been on a birth control pill for seven years, and I don't smoke. Is it true that the longer you're on the pill the harder it is to conceive? We are not trying, but I just want to know early if I have anything going against me I should know about. Thank you for your time and consideration. Any information that can be provided will be helpful.

Answer: The biggest effect of the Harrington Rod will be on your respiratory drive. You will need higher minute volumes while pregnant and the rod prevents you from using the full force of your spine to breath. Since the diaphragm is pushed up by the gravid uterus, the back becomes more of a component. Not a big issue, but you may feel a little breathy. Some women experience difficulty with labor due to the inability to flex their back. However, cesarean sections work just fine if this occurs. The inverted cervix will work just fine, it is the uterus and tubes that are critical to the pregnancy and fertilization. The pill will have little/no effect on long term fertility. Good luck.

Pregnancy and Codeine [posted 8/4/98]
Question: I am 5 months pregnant and was diagnosed with a condition which causes me chest pain intercostal condreitis. My ribs are inflamed and the doctors can not prescribe anti inflammatories. My doctor has prescribed tylenol with codeine prn. Is this safe? How much becomes unsafe. I also had a cerclage performed at 13 weeks and was given darvocet for pain. Did I do any damage to my baby?

Answer: Narcotics generally have little effect on the fetus. For patients using high doses, there is a risk of addiction in the child after birth, but occasional use will not cause this problem. Also, in the 2-3 weeks before delivery you should abstain due to potentially decreasing the respiratory drive in the new born. There will be no deforming effects of this medication. Lastly, local creams (Bengay and the like) can help. Check with your doctor.

Pregnancy and Benadryl [posted 7/31/98]
Question: I wonder if anything is known about possible subtle effects of long-term Benadryl use during pregnancy. I have seen your FAQ answer that Benadryl is safe during pregnancy, but it didn't specifically address long-term usage. Is there any reason to think that 25 mg Benadryl taken once daily throughout a pregnancy could affect such things as neuropsychological function, temperament, activity level? Are there any studies or theories on such effects for Benadryl or related medicines (i.e. other antihistamines or even tricyclics with antihistaminergic properties)?

Answer: None that I am aware of.

Darvocet and Pregnancy [posted 7/23/98]
Question: My sister has been taking Darvacet for about 3 months, and just found out that she is pregnant. About 4 months along. Is there any problems that she should know about concerning possible side effects that my harm the baby? She has quit taking the drug, but is very concerned about the baby.

Answer: Darvocet is a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen. Neither will affect the baby, although the propoxyphene should not be used in the last trimester and in minimal doses to reduce any possibility of narcotic addiction in the child.

Pregnancy and Medication [posted 7/23/98]
Question: My wife is pregnant and is taking trimox and guaifen/t-prop and we would like to know if these are safe for use during the first trimester.

Answer: Yes.

Vitamins and Zinc during Pregnancy
Question: My Husband heard on the radio that taking zinc while pregnant is risky. I have been taking daily vitamins and have found that it includes 27 mg (150%) of zinc. I am not pregnant yet, but we are trying to conceive. What should I be taking? I am also taking an additional supplement for iron, even though it is included in my regular daily vitamins because I am anemic. Should I do that?

Answer: Lots of things in excess can cause problems. Most ob/gyn recommend a vitamin with zinc (traces, not large supplements). Don't worry about this. Most things in moderation (except alcohol and smoking) are fine while you are pregnant.

Lipitor and Pregnancy
Question: My Ob/Gyn confirmed that I would be in my 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, which would be three weeks into my husband's start of medication of Lipitor tablets, for high triglyceride levels in his blood. My husband and I had plans to start trying for a baby, but we were waiting for termination of his medication. Meanwhile I had taken tabs for common cold (Chlor Trimetron) and Excedrin for headache. Could all these medication taken by me and my husband have any impact on the baby? There was a false period (later explained as spotting by my Ob/Gyn) two weeks after my regular missed period. Could the spotting have been because of the medication? We are very much concerned since this is our first baby, and so any kind of feedback would be very much appreciated.

Answer: The first baby is emotionally trying-they all are. However, that one is the worst. I can't think of any reason for the Lipitor to be a factor. The antihistamines (Chlor Trimetron) absolutely won't cause a problem. The spotting is usual in women in the first 6 weeks or so and usually represents the initial stages of placental growth. However, an ultrasound will be necessary to ensure the placenta is not too close to the cervix in placement. I would guess that 20-30% of women spot in the first six weeks and it rarely means long term problems. Most of what you describe sounds pretty normal.

Using Novocain while pregnant
Question: My wife needs to go to the dentist, but she is pregnant and worried about the use of Novocain. What precautions should be taken?

Answer: I wouldn't be too concerned. There appears to be little, if any, systemic absorption after local injection and if there was any problem you would have heard about it since this is such a common problem. There has not been systemic research (and won't be), but this appears to be a very low risk.

Question: My sister was diagnosed as being in premature menopause at the age of 31. She desperately wanted another child so the doctor put her on estrogen patches approximately 2 months ago. Her blood levels did not change so he then put her on Fertinex for a two week regime. A vaginal sonogram indicated that she had one mature follicle. Today she had a sonogram and is 7 weeks pregnant a heart beat having been detected. Could the fetus have been harmed by the infertility treatments administered after conception? Could she possibly be pregnant with two children conceived at different times? Her blood levels have recently been highly elevated.

Answer: Possibly a fetal abnormality, but unlikely since they merely stimulate follicular development. There can be two pregnancies, but not separated by more than a day or two(fraternal twins).

Teen Pregnancy
Question: What are the consequences of teen pregnancy

Answer: Higher mortality rates, lower birth weights, higher rates of child abuse, poverty and long term poverty of the family unit. This is a short summary of a complex issue.

Pregnancy and Folic Acid
Question: Why is it important for pregnant women to drink folic acid?

Answer: Folic acid is necessary for the proper energy level function of every cell in the body. In the initial stages of embryo development a lack of folate leads to several potential disorders, including neuro tube disorders. This leads to spina bifida, poor brain function, etc.

Pregnancy and Vaginal Discharge
Question: When you become pregnant, do you stop producing vaginal discharge? What are some other minor signs of pregnancy that you experience in the first 1-2 months after fertilization?

Answer: Usually when you become pregnant there is a very dense mucous plug in the cervix which completely blocks the cervix. This would not prevent vaginal discharge, but this is usually minimal anyway. So, you continue vaginal discharge, but since most of the discharge really comes from uterine mucous and drainage - effectively, no. I'm not sure what you mean by minor signs.

Anabolic steroids and pregnancy
Question: I'm almost 6 weeks pregnant. The father of the baby has been taking 4 different steroids. He keeps telling me there will be severe birth defects. I need to find out what the chances are and what the birth defects might be. I have asked several doctors in my area, but I'm not sure they know much about anabolic steroids. Here is a list of what he takes weekly: Anadrol, Anavar, Deca-Durabolin & Sustanon. He has been taking them non-stop for 4 - 5 months with only maybe a 2 week break.

Answer: Shouldn't be a problem. If he was taking Accutane or some other known drug which causes deformations, then it would be a different story. His taking steroids should not effect his sperm in terms of mutations or birth defects.

Male Pregnancy
Question: Can men have babies?

Answer: Theoretically, a fetus could be implanted in a male abdomen and develop. This has never been done and is probably ethically impossible but could be attempted. This is the only way for men to "have babies". Genetic cloning would allow cloning of males, but is not exactly a "baby".

Dexatrim and Pregnancy
Question: My boyfriend and I had intercourse when I was ovulating and I also had begun taking Maximum Strength Dexatrim at the same time. If I were to become pregnant, how would the pills effect the fetus?

Answer: These is no data on this. It hasn't even been studied in rats very extensively. However, most medication problems are later in conception. As long as you avoid it in the future, I doubt that you'll have any problems.

Getting pregnant
Question: I had been on the pill for approx. 10 years-- Trilevlin 28. I stopped taking the pill in October hoping to be ready then to begin trying to have a baby. My periods have still not been regular. Since I've stopped the pill I have had two periods-- one in January and one in late May(which was induced by taking the hormone, provera). I should have gotten a period this past week. I did not. I do not think I am pregnant. In fact, am I even ovulating? Is there a way to find out, or is their treatment that would be appropriate to pursue?

Answer: A fairly simple technique is to check your core temperature. Ovulation is usually marked by a rise in core temperature. Keep a thermometer by your bed and take your temperature every morning. Do not get up. Do it before you get out of bed. Chart the temperature, and the day that it rises is predictive of ovulation. This is what a fertility clinic would have your do. P.S. Have intercourse that day! Good luck.

Question: I have no problem getting pregnant, but keeping the baby I have a problem with. I had three miscarriages in the last year and half and I'm afraid I'll never have the joy of bringing a miracle to life. I'm going through genetic testing right now, and I'm still waiting for the results. I'm so nervous about the fact of the test being positive.

Answer: There are many reasons why women cannot carry to term. Usually they have nothing to do with genetic defects, but that needs to be tested. Actually, we really don't know all the reasons why some women have trouble carrying. There is a whole list of things for your Ob to observe and think about. There actually are special physicians who follow these problems in certain cities.

Question: what effect does heparin have on a fetus? I’m currently in my 5th month with deep vein thrombophlebitis and using heparin.

Answer: It doesn't appear to be much. There is always a risk of bleeding into the placenta, but the direct risk to the fetus, concerning birth defects, appears small to none.

Question: I was pregnant in 1994 and had the pregnancy terminated in the eighth week of gestation. I had my follow up check up and was told everything went fine. I am now 35 years old and trying to conceive a child. Not using birth control since 1994, I found it odd that I did not conceive. I went to a gynecologist and had the regular exams and was told my PAP smear was normal and no blood disorders found. The Doctor suggested I have a HSG exam performed, and I did. The results revealed bilateral blocked tubes distal(nearest ovaries). They then suggested I have a pelvic sonogram to see if the uterus looked fine. I would like to know what procedures can be done to rectify this problem, is it costly, painful, and what are the chances of success. I would also like to know what causes this condition. Is it a result of the abortion I received in 1994? How soon can I expect conception granted nothing else is wrong, and will I need fertility drugs to assist? My fiancee’s physical was normal. I have another appointment with the Doctor to discuss the result of the pelvic sonogram and would like to know what avenue of questions I should focus on. What kinds of procedures can correct this problem?

Answer: There are procedures to open the fallopian tubes. They range from air insufflation to surgical procedures. The costs vary accordingly. If your tubes can be opened, you will have an increased fertility at the cost of an increased risk of tubal pregnancy due to motility problems in your tubes. Lack of ability to open the tubes will lead to in vitro fertilization and reimplantation of the egg into your uterus. This is expensive(8000 dollars or so depending on the center). Some insurances cover this and some do not. There are several potential causes for your closure of your tubes. By far the most common is infection. There are several potential types of infection- some sexually transmitted and some not. I doubt that the abortion had much to do with it.

Cortisone cream
Question: Is it safe for to use cortisone cream as a treatment for skin blemish (facial/lips area) during pregnancy?

Answer: These facial blemishes are due to high levels of estrogen and progesterone. I doubt that steroid would be helpful. Local application of small amounts would not usually present a problem.

Question: I use Anafranil as a medication for OCD. With my first pregnancy I didn't take any medication, but the OCD was very hard. I want to know if I can use any kind of medication against OCD during a pregnancy.

Answer: There are no controlled studies which will answer this problem. Anafranil is listed as a Class C drug in pregnancy with no teratogenic effects found in rats and mice given this drug while pregnant. However, there are no definite advice to give.

Question: How early after conception can pregnancy be detected by an over the counter test? What do you know about taking phentermine and/or zoloft while pregnant?

Answer: Usually about 4 weeks after conception, which means about 2 weeks after your normal period. Blood tests will be accurate at about 2 weeks. However, both tests depend on the amount of hormones produced by the placenta and may not be accurate until 6 weeks for the home test and 4 weeks for the blood test. This means that false negatives will increase if you check too early. Delay is best for accuracy. Phentermine should be avoided during pregnancy since it is not tested. It comes from a family with similar structure to amphetamines and these should absolutely be avoided during pregnancy. There hasn't been controlled human studies and probably never will be. Zoloft causes minor problems in rats. Like phentermine, human studies will never be done. However, the drug is used extensively and no major problems have been published.

Zoloft and pregnancy
Question: My wife's been on Zoloft for about 12 months. We're thinking of having a baby, and are not sure of the implications with Zoloft and pregnancy. Our preference is that she stays on the medication.

Answer: There is no absolute information on this subject. There does not appear to be excessive or unusual fetal abnormalities in rat studies. Human studies have not bee done. However, this drug is so widely prescribed to young women that abnormalities would show up in the literature fairly rapidly. This has not been seen. I would minimize the dosage, but it does not appear to be a major problem. Long term studies on children born under the influence of SRIs have not been done.

Zoloft and pregnancy
Question: I have been taking Zoloft for several years. I recently became pregnant and would like the latest information available on continuing the use of Zoloft. The studies I have read indicate that not enough data has been gathered to determine side effects. I have tried Prozac, but it seems to have the opposite effect and is not an acceptable alternative.

Answer: Currently there is insufficient information to answer your question. Studies in rats, etc., have not shown any severe problems although like all these studies, there are occasional minor problems noted. There are many women on this drug and its class and no major effects have been reported since it has been available in the U.S. I suspect that there are minimal problems associated with fetal change. However, there is no direct information. Drugs that can be avoided during pregnancy should be avoided. However, if you need this medication I would not be excessively worried.

Codeine and pregnancy
Question: My wife is 19 weeks pregnant. She is very sick (throat and chest infection). Her OB/Gynecologist put her on Amoxicillin for the infection, and on Dicomal-DH Syrup. This product has codeine in it. Is this safe for my wife and our baby?

Answer: Narcotics in small controlled doses are of no risk to the fetus until the last few days prior to delivery. Then they can produce sedation which could impair early respirations. This effect will be completely gone within 1-2 days after stopping and could be medically reversed if necessary. Amoxicillin is of little or no risk during pregnancy and is one of the drugs of choice in pregnant women.

Calcium Fluoride
Question: My wife is in her 5th month of pregnancy. Her dentist suggested her to take calcium-fluoride, but her gynecologist is against it. What is your opinion on the matter?

Answer: Many women develop dental problems with pregnancy. Most gynecologists recommend a healthy calcium intake, so that's unlikely to be the problem. Fluoride is an unknown in fetal development and I suspect that is the issue. I'd prefer oral calcium with topical fluoride rather than system fluoride.

Colorectal Cancer
Question: I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1993 at the age of 29. The doctor said the tumor had attached itself to the walls of the rectum and removing it would mean that I would have to get a colostomy. I did have it removed and I am now 32 years old and living with a colostomy. In addition, I had to have radiation and chemotherapy treatment. After the radiation, I have no longer had my period. The radiologists explained that the radiation scarred the uterus, so it does not bleed. This was explained before I attended the radiation treatment, however, my surgeon said she would tuck away my ovaries so that if I wanted to have a child, my ovaries would be intact, but I would have to use a surrogate to carry the child. I recently went to my gynecologist, who told me that my estrogen levels are very low, and he does not think I am ovulating. Therefore, he thinks my ovaries have been destroyed. I no longer have medical coverage, so I cannot afford a specialist, or even get a second opinion. I desperately want to be able to have my own child. Is there any chance that my ovaries may still be intact even though I showed a low level in my blood, (the gynecologist put me on Premarin)? Is there any way to repair the walls of the uterus so I can carry a child?

Ans OB I would like to able to say that you will be able to have children, but the likelihood is small. You may be occasionally ovulating, but it would require in vitro fertilization to achieve this. I suspect that proper hormonal manipulation might achieve fertilization, but this would take some time and effort starting now.

Question: Could you please give me some in depth symptoms of pregnancy. Also, do I have to wait for a missed menstrual period before taking a home test?

Answer: Tender breasts, nausea, and occasionally flushing are symptoms of pregnancy. These are usually due to the production of hormones by the placenta. The home tests depend on this production, which rarely is detectable before 2 to 3 weeks. Serum blood tests can pick up pregnancy earlier before the loss of a period. Testing negative too early is of no help. If you desire earlier knowledge, you’ll need to get a blood test. This test can also have trouble early, but is better.

Birth control pill
Question: At the end of my last cycle, I stopped taking my birth control pill, Tri-Norinyl. I had my period soon after, but it has now been 33 days and I have not yet gotten my period for this cycle. I know that I am not pregnant. I do have some very light bleeding, but not what it should be. Is it common for this to happen after discontinuing use of birth control?

Answer: Were your periods regular before the pill? If not they will not be significantly different after the pill. Also, sometimes the lining of the uterus needs extra progesterone to completely slough. Low progesterone levels will give scanty or no period. This is not related to the pills except that large periods are uncommon on the pill.

Steroid use during pregnancy
Question: My doctor prescribed a steroid to alleviate my symptoms of poison ivy. I am in the process of trying to get pregnant and I was wondering if this would hurt a developing baby.

Answer: It should not have any effect.

Prenatal Multivitamins
Question: We have many manufacturers that offer prenatal multivitamins. In order to choose the correct formula by specific case I wish to know if we can substitute brand names like stuart 1+1 for prenatal 1+1? Are the differences in the brand names based on the formulas for the specific stage of pregnancy?

Answer: The easiest way is to read the side label and see what the differences are. Usually prenatal vitamins will have much higher doses of folate, calcium and iron. Ask your pharmacist for the difference and merely add these on as extra generics. More pills but cheaper.

Pregnancy drugs
Question: If a person took amphetamines during pregnancy how would this affect the fetus and its quality of life after birth?

Answer: Amphetamines are stimulatory medications. However, they have many systemic effects in the body, in addition to the sensation they provide. Among them, vessel spasms and as a result, vessel narrowing is of particular importance in pregnant patients. In addition to increasing the risk of damage to the placenta, these medications, when taken during a pregnancy, also increase the risk of damage to the fetus, ranging from spontaneous abortion (loss of pregnancy), to defects seen prior to, at the time of, or after, birth. The nature of these potential injuries is variable, and if you are concerned about the possible effects of amphetamines on a pregnancy or baby after it is born, consult your obstetrician and/or pediatrician. They can help you determine whether there is a need for concern, and what interventions can be made.

Question: I have been trying to lose weight so that I am at my optimum weight when my husband and I start trying to conceive. I am 5’4” and 175 pounds. I have been exercising, eating well (and in moderation), but I haven't lost any weight in 3 months. I went to see my doctor today, and he put me on a restricted diet and also prescribed Pondimin and Ionamin for me to take. I told him that my main objective is to lose weight so that my pregnancy might be a healthier one for myself and the baby. He told me that I need to make sure that I stop taking the prescriptions before we try to conceive.

I am wondering if there should be a specific time period I should wait before trying to get pregnant. Does the medicine stay in your system after you stop taking it? My doctor didn't think this was a problem. I just wanted a second opinion.

Answer: Pondimin is the brand name of a medication known as fenfluramine hydrochloride. It is absorbed from the intestinal tract and usually its maximum anorectic effect (its effect on suppressing the appetite) is seen 2 to 4 hours after taking the medication. The reported “half-life” (or, the time it takes for half the medication to be cleared from the bloodstream) of fenfluramine is 20 hours, according to the Physician’s Drug Reference. Therefore, after 20 hours, 50% of the drug remains, and after 40 hours, 25% of the drug remains, and so on. After about one week, (168 hours), approximately 0.4% of the medication remains. To be assured that no significant medication remains in your bloodstream, give yourself 10-14 days time prior to trying to conceive.

Ionamin is a brand name of a medication known as phentermine, supplied in a resin form. The half-life of this medication is also approximately 20 hours, according to my hospital pharmacist. Thus, as for the Pondimin, give yourself 10-14 days prior to attempting to conceive.

Pregnancy & klonopin/prozac
Question: I would like some information on pregnancy and the use of klonopin and prozac during pregnancy. Could you suggest the best way to locate and talk to people who have experienced pregnancy with these drugs? I am especially concerned with the use of klonopin during pregnancy.

Answer: Klonopin is technically a drug which is only approved for treatment of seizures. In fact, it is used for treatment of many disorders which require a benzodiazepine. There have been insufficient data to really give you information. The PDR states that there are potential risks of birth defects in women taking the drug for seizure prevention. Data in rats show several non-dose related birth defects including cleft palate, eye fold abnormalities and limb defects. There has not been shown to be a major problem with other benzodiazepines and pregnancy. You can obtain more up to the date information from the companyescrhe 800-526-6367.

Inducing Labor
Question: My wife is overdue and the doctor is considering giving her pitocin, which is a labor inducing drug. What is it? Who makes it? How does it work? Are there natural alternatives?

Answer: Pitocin is naturally produced by the hypothalamus - close to the neurons that produce ADH(antidiuretic hormone). Oxytoxins' purpose is to contract the muscle of the uterus and normal labor is stimulated by a sharp rise in this hormone. Consequently, external administration will usually produce labor. It also has an effect on the mammary gland to release milk and has been used in helping milk production post delivery. It is usually given intravenously, but can be administered with nasal spray. The dose is critical and close monitoring is necessary to prevent excessive contractions.

Amoxicillin and Augmentin
Question: My wife was prescribed Amoxicillin and Augmentin for an infected insect bite, and she is 10 weeks pregnant. Could this have any effects on the pregnancy?

Answer: Use of any medicine during pregnancy always presents some risk to the fetus. However, there are some drugs which are high risk and some which appear to be low risk. Penicillin and the penicillin like drugs(like Amoxicillin) is one of the preferred antibiotics to use during pregnancy. Clavulanic acid which is the other ingredient in Augmentin(amoxicillin and clavulanic acid) is added to block some of the penicillin resistance of some bacteria, making amoxicillin much more powerful. Studies performed in pregnant mice and rats have demonstrated no apparent problems. However, studies in women have not been performed. Consequently this drug, like most, is only used if truly necessary.

Fibroids in the Uterus
Question:If you are pregnant and have fibroids in the uterus, how dangerous is it. What complications can you expect throughout the pregnancy? Can you take anything for the pain?

Answer: Fibroids of the uterus are medically called leiomyomas. Many women have one or more of these benign muscle growths in their uterus. They are responsible for a host of problems including painful periods, heavy bleeding, and difficulty in becoming pregnant. The number and size of these muscle growths is important since small ones generally don't cause major problems. Once pregnancy is established, they rarely cause major problems with the pregnancy. Again it is very dependent on the size and position of these tumors. Taking any drugs during pregnancy is to be avoided;but, acetaminophen is generally safe in controlled amounts.

Symptoms of Pregnancy
Question:Five yrs ago I had my first and only child and got the normal symptoms of pregnancy. Heartburn, leg cramps, nausea, change in taste and morning sickness. My problem is that NONE of these symptoms went away. It has been five yrs and I have seen many doctors. They all say they have no idea why they didn't go away. Please give me any info about this as it has been very troubling for me.

Answer: Several possibilities. 1) Have you lost the weight from the pregnancy? This will cause the reflux, heartburn, leg cramps etc. 2.) Did you nurse after delivery-if you tried but could not you should check your prolactin levels they could produce some of the symptoms-also produces irregular periods. 3.) Has your physician checked your estrogen-progesterone levels? 4). Are you on birth control pills? These are my initial thoughts-high steroid levels cause these problems as well as weight gain. Use these as a stepping off for a diagnosis.

Sex Determination
Question:Are OB/GYNs frequently asked for ways to boost the odds in favor of one sex baby or another. (Pre-conception.) If you have been asked, what advice do you give them?

Answer: First, be aware that it is not fifty-fifty to begin with. There are about 102 boys to 100 girls. this number also varies and couples in their twenties will have 104-106 boys to 102 girls. None of the mechanical things seems to work. However, male sperm is typically faster and female sperm a little more hearty-regular sex tends to bias in favor of more males. However, this difference is slight unless you plan to have 200 children or so.

Question:My husband has "lazy sperm" - his sperm will not penetrate my egg. Another couple I know, in Oregon, had the same problem and her doctor prescribed an antibiotic called "sipro". Her husband took it for two months and the next month she was pregnant. I have tried to find out more info on this drug and have come up with nothing. I am hoping that you may know more about this. Can you help me?

Answer: I suspect that you are describing cipro which is an antibiotic. Why it would work with poorly functioning sperm is another story. It would be easy to get an prescription-whether it would work is another story.

Baby's Movement in Womb
Question: A week or two before the onset of labor, the baby's head should move to "engage" in the top of the cervix, in preparation to be delivered. What causes this engagement to occur at just the right time?

Answer: Great question, no one knows.e easy to get an prescription-whether it would work is another story.

Question: I am currently taking Clomiphene Citrate 50 mg, 2 tablets a day for 5 days. What are the chances of having twins or multiples from taking this medicine? Does the chance increase each month you are on it? Does the chance increase if the number of pills a day is increased?

Answer: The risk seems to be very individual. Your doctor can give you exact numbers; but, at this dosage about 1/100 births. Only slightly higher than naturally occurring frequency

Decadron Shot
Question: I received a Decadron shot (8 milligrams) for an extreme case of poison ivy. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant. The doctor did a urine analysis at 11 dpo and it came out negative so she went ahead and gave me the shot. I still have not started my period and am wondering what effects of receiving Decadron and being pregnant at the at the same time. She also mentioned that I should wait 1 cycle before trying to conceive again. Just wondering why I should wait.

Answer: There really shouldn't be any side effects on the fetus. However, with the current legal climate any physician would tell you the same advice so as not to involve any potential for fetal damage/malformation-however slight.

Question: I have had three miscarriges in one year. Blood work was done only after the third. The only thing it stated was the toxoplasmosis. What are my chances of having a successful pregnancy again. Note: I have a four year old already. No problems with that pregnancy.

Answer: Have you and your husband had genetic evaluation? Often there may be an incomplete deformation that is only transmitted 50% of the time-but, leading to miscarriages. I would consult a high risk pregnancy clinic.

Muscle Relaxants
Question: Any muscle relaxants safe in pregnancy?

Answer: There are no studies performed. In general, there are few studies performed on pregnant women since it is not an ethical study. Many women have taken these drugs during early stages of pregnancy without major effects. Drugs such as Flexeril are slightly higher risk than drugs such as Valium etc.

Benadryl & Pregnancy
Question: Should a pregnant women (5 weeks pregnant) who was recently given Benadryl for chronic food poisoning be concerned about damage to the unborn baby?

Answer: Safe.

Question: My wife takes 20mg propranolol three times a day, what are the risks if we want to have another child?

Answer: Propranolol is the generic name for a medication that is in the class of drugs known as “beta-blockers”. The main effect of this medication is to prevent the body’s natural chemicals from attaching to, and thereby activating, its “beta” receptors. These receptors are present in a wide variety of bodily sites, including the heart, the kidneys, the intestinal tract, the stomach, esophagus, the bladder, as well as lungs, and blood vessels throughout the body (explaining its use in patients with high blood pressure). These medications can also have effects on the nervous system and many people take these types of medications for problems such as “stage fright”. Above and beyond other precautions when taking this medication, with regards to pregnancy, there are several points you should be aware of. Firstly, the Physician’s Desk Reference notes that in animal studies, toxicity to the embryo (that stage of development of the baby prior to it becoming a fetus), did occur when doses ten times higher than the maximum recommended human dose were given. Despite the high doses used, and the limited human data, this medication should be used before you attempt a pregnancy only on the advise of your health care provider, and only if the benefits outweigh the risks. Close follow-up with your health care provider regarding when, and how quickly to stop the medication, as well as what can be used as a temporary substitute would be necessary.

Question: Are there any warnings against taking neurontin for mild petit mal seizures during pregnancy?

Answer: Neurontin is the brand name of a medication known as Gabapentin, an anticonvulsant drug used to prevent seizures. There is a wealth of information about this medication in the medical literature, as well as in the Physician’s Desk Reference, which can be obtained through your health care provider. In the setting of pregnancy, there are several notations in the Physician’s Desk Reference. Firstly, neurontin did not impair fertility or cause fetal genetic mutation in animal studies. However, there was significant abnormalities involving fetal bone formation and development, when animals received 1 to 4 times the maximum recommended daily dose for humans. In addition, animal studies showed higher rates of fetal loss, and urinary tract developmental problems. Although there is a paucity of human data involving the use of this medication during, or prior to an attempt at pregnancy, it should be used only if the benefits outweigh the risks, and only under the direct supervision and instruction of your health care provider. In addition, withdrawal of this medication needs to be done under the direct supervision of your health care provider as well, as seizure can result if the drug is removed too rapidly. If you are concerned about this medication and a potential future, or current pregnancy, see your health care provider. He or she can discuss with you what options are available, and what the best course of action should be. As always, if you are experiencing a symptom that you feel may be related to a medication, visit your health care provider. He or she can determine whether the symptom is possibly due to the drug, and determine the best course of action to take.

Medications & Fertility
Question: Would The Following Medications Prevent Him From Having Children ? Vicodin - ES mg 1-Every 4 HRS / Has been taking for 4yrs Amitryptyline - 25 mg 1 at Bed Time/ Has been taking 2 yrs Propranolol- 20 mg 2 pills 2 times a day/Has been taking 2 yrs Had Spinal Operation 4 yrs Ago we would like to Know if it would be possible for us to have children. Has this effected him in any way. Are there any warnings against taking neurontin for mild petit mal seizures during pregnancy?

Answer: None would prevent normal sperm or egg production. Vicodin and amitriptyline can occasionally cause erectile dysfunction. Less commonly, propranolol can cause erectile dysfunction.

Andrcur & Ethinylestradiol
Question: I am currently taking andrcur and ethinylestradiol. My question is how long should you stop taking this medication before becoming pregnant? Is there any birth defects related? While I'm pregnant is it likely my skin will return to the acne state? ( I take androcur for the treatment of acne)

Answer: Probably two menstrual cycles would be sufficient. Although, children born while women are taking birth control pills don't seem to have major problems. Yes, you will probably have acne-although while pregnant your levels are significantly different. That is, you will either have much worse or much better acne. After delivery, it will depend on whether you breast feed and your weight.

Paint Fumes
Question: My wife and I recently found out that we are pregnant after 4 months of trying. We discovered this through a store bought test. We are both college graduates and tried to take all the precautions necessary to ensure a healthy fetus. However, this week we were having the inside of our house painted (all the trimwork) with interior latex and we are afraid that all the fumes may have damaged the baby. We think we are about 5 weeks pregnant and our doctor can't see us till Oct 9th. It is driving us crazy worrying whether we have done harm to the baby. My question is do you think that casual exposure to the paint fumes at this stage is harmful? How much exposure will cause harm? What are the chances and what may have happened?

Answer: Very unlikely-consider all the houses that are painted and the rarity of problems. Lead paint could be a different issue;but, it is not sold. Unless you are grinding or sanding lead based paint I wouldn't worry. Take common sense precautions;but, don't drive yourself crazy-99%plus births are completely normal.

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