Pregnant women learn pretty quickly that there are long lists of things they’re not supposed to do. Smoking cigarettes, eating sushi, drinking alcohol, and skydiving are out- but why are so many pregnant women taking narcotics?
From 2007 to 2011, each year, over 12% of pregnant women were prescribed opioid painkillers. And unfortunately, the effects on the developing fetus aren’t understood very well. Studies in animals are critical to the understanding of the effects of certain drugs on fetuses, and hopefully, it’s not too late. It is known that the chances of neural tube defects are increased if opioids are used during early pregnancy, and addiction in newborns is a potential problem when opioids are using during late pregnancy.
Regardless, a large number of doctors are commonly prescribing opioids to their pregnant patients. There are always cases where the benefits of medications outweigh the potential risks, but expecting moms should always make sure they’re looking out for their little ones! Before taking medications during pregnancy- especially medications with unknown risks to unborn children- talk to your doctor and do some research for yourself. Definitely stay away from skydiving, but also know that narcotics could be much more dangerous than you might think!