National Birth Defects Prevention Month focuses on medication use before, during, and after pregnancy. This includes over-the-counter or prescription medications and herbal or dietary products. Birth defects affect approximately one in 33 newborns and are a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States.
Approximately two thirds of women use at least one medication during their pregnancy. Because of the possible risks to the unborn baby, pregnant women are not included in the testing of new medications. As a result, little information is available about the safety of taking most medications during pregnancy. Better data will allow women and their health-care providers to make informed decisions about treatment during pregnancy and evaluate the risks and benefits of treatment.
CDC’s National Birth Defects Prevention Study helps identify medications that can increase the risk for birth defects. NBDPS data have been used to understand the risks associated with specific antidepressants, antibiotics, and antihypertensives.
Photo © Abraham Menashe