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Prescription Drugs & Birth Injury in Portland

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Birth Injury on October 21, 2015

For most couples, pregnancy is a time of joyful expectation as they eagerly wait for the arrival of their little one. Planning a nursery, buying baby equipment, and stockpiling diapers can occupy a lot of time, as can doctor appointments, childbirth preparation and parenting classes. At the same time there is still work that needs to be done, errands to be run, and other daily tasks that need to be completed.

Dealing with the physical and emotional demands of being pregnant cause many women to be run down and prone to more than their share of physical discomforts. Morning sickness often complicates matters. A visit to the doctor is likely to result in a pharmaceutical fix, something that is not always in the best interest of mother and child. 

Birth injuries caused by prescription drugs have risen alarmingly in recent years, and many pregnant women themselves face dangers of complications and increased side effects due to prescribed medications. Knowing the risks associated with various prescription medicines commonly prescribed during pregnancy can help ensure you make the right choices for the safety and well-being of you and your child.

Risks Associated with Prescription Drugs During Pregnancy

According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 percent of pregnant women take at least one prescribed medication during pregnancy. While some women take these prescription medicines to either treat an ongoing, pre-pregnancy condition, others are prescribed medications to treat pregnancy-related conditions such as morning sickness or anxiety.

Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of prescribed medicines have been adequately researched to determine the safety of their use during pregnancy. Medications that may pose a risk of harm to pregnant women and their unborn child include:

  •         Antidepressants;
  •         Asthma medicines;
  •         High blood pressure medication;
  •         Medications used to treat infertility;
  •         Pain killers;
  •         Antibiotics; and
  •         Prescription strength antacids.

These medications may increase the risk of general birth defects, heart defects, cleft lip and palate, and general low birth weights.

Dangers Associated with Morning Sickness Medications

Anti-nausea medications have garnered national attention in recent years. Zofran, a popularly prescribed medication for morning sickness, has been shown to pose risks for birth defects in children as well as a risk to the mother of serotonin syndrome, a life-threatening disorder characterized by behavioral changes, confusion and increased anxiety, and neuromuscular disorders.

An  August 2015 article on the dangers of Zofran in treating morning sickness quoted the Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Oregon Health and Science University here in Portland as saying that the use of Zofran has been demoted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in favor of other, more traditional courses of treatment.  Instead, doctors advise other ways of dealing with morning sickness that do not involve the use of medication, such as eating smaller meals, eating saltines, and avoiding smells that trigger nausea.

To help pregnant women with their concerns about morning sickness, medications, and other health-related pregnancy issues, a group of Portland physicians assisted with the development of an app that pregnant women and their families could download on their televisions. The My Pregnancy app features over 100 short videos on pregnancy-related issues developed by doctors, midwives and patients that can help answer questions and ease concerns.

Contact Our Portland Birth Injury Attorneys Today

If you suspect your child has suffered a birth defect as the result of prescribed medications, contact our experienced Portland birth injury attorneys immediately. At the Johnston Law Firm, we provide the aggressive legal representation you need, while ensuring you get the compassionate service and care you deserve. Contact our Portland personal injury attorneys today for a free review of your case.

Marc Johnston
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