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What medications should a pregnant woman avoid, and what is their impact on the health of the mother and fetus?

One of the most prominent warnings to women during pregnancy is to avoid taking various medications without consulting a doctor. What are the most prominent medications that a pregnant woman should avoid, and what is their impact on the health of the mother and fetus?

Medicines that pregnant women should avoid

Until now, scientists have not been able to classify the extent of the danger of all drugs to pregnant women, due to the inability to conduct human trials in this field, so we cannot say that a drug is 100% safe for the health of the pregnant woman and the fetus.

However, scientists have classified the different medicines into 5 categories according to the levels of risk. The following is a sample of the medicines that pregnant women are completely prohibited from taking, as they are classified as high-risk medicines:


Chloramphenicol is an antibiotic that is usually given by injection. This medicine can cause serious disturbances in the blood of a pregnant woman, and may affect the fetus with gray baby syndrome (a disease that causes general weakness in newborns and its symptoms are pallor and low blood pressure).

Ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin are also types of antibiotics.

According to Healthline, these medications can cause problems with the development of the baby’s muscles and skeletal system, in addition to joint pain and possible nerve damage in the mother.

Fluoroquinolones can increase the risk of rupture in a pregnant woman, which could result in life-threatening bleeding.

Women with a family history of heart disease and aneurysms may be at increased risk of side effects.

Fluoroquinolones may also increase the chances of miscarriage, according to a 2017 study.


Sulfonamides are a group of antibiotic medicines. Also known as sulfa drugs.

Most of these types of medications are used to kill germs and treat bacterial infections.

It can cause jaundice in newborns and may increase the chances of miscarriage.

trimethoprim (Primsol)

Trimethoprim (Primsol) is a type of antibiotic. When this medicine is taken during pregnancy, it can cause defects in the nervous system that affect the fetus’s brain development.


Primaquine is a medicine use to treat malaria. There is not a lot of data on women who took this drug during pregnancy, but animal studies indicate that it is harmful to developing fetuses, as it can damage the blood cells of the fetus.


Codeine is a prescription drug use to relieve pain, but in some areas it can be bought without a prescription.

It is a drug that is harmful to the health of the mother and negatively affects the development of the fetus.

pain reliever ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

High doses of over-the-counter pain relievers can cause many serious problems, including:


delayed onset of labor


Bleeding for both mother and baby

Enterocolitis, or damage to the lining of the intestine

Low levels of amniotic fluid

Brain damage in the fetus

Most experts agree that ibuprofen may be safe to use in small to moderate doses early in pregnancy.

It is especially important to avoid ibuprofen during the last 3 months of pregnancy.

During this stage of pregnancy, ibuprofen is more likely to cause heart defects in the fetus.

warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin (Coumadin) is a blood thinner use to treat and prevent blood clots.

It can cause birth defects in the fetus if taken by the mother.

Therefore, it should be avoided during pregnancy unless the risk of a blood clot is more serious than the risk of harming the baby, as decided by the specialist doctor.

clonazepam (Klonopin)

Clonazepam (Klonopin) is use to prevent seizures and panic disorders.

Taking clonazepam during pregnancy can cause symptoms in the newborn.

lorazepam (Ativan)

Lorazepam (Ativan) is a common medication use for anxiety or other mental health disorders.

It can cause birth defects or life-threatening symptoms after birth.

Apart from these drugs, which are considere to be of a high degree of risk, the pregnant woman should not take any other kind of medication without consulting a specialist doctor for the sake of her safety and the safety of the fetus.

van malek
van is a certified yoga and meditation teacher. He started his career as a linguist, finishing his degree in French Studies and Translation. He was working as a translator, when he started practicing yoga and meditation. His passion for them took him to India where he became a certified yoga and meditation teacher. Upon his return in the UK, he started his MA degree in Health Management and worked briefly in the pharmaceutical industry. Now, he is part of pinabol and acts as our natural body-cleansing expert.


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