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Over 70 per cent of pregnant women deliberately avoided taking medicines during pregnancy for fear of harming their baby

Q: "I'm pregnant and am avoiding taking any medication as I'm worried about the effect it could have on my baby. Is this a wise precaution?"

A: Dr Michael Twigg, research fellow at the University of East Anglia's School of Pharmacy, says: "A lot of women feel this way about taking medicines in pregnancy. In recent research we conducted we found over 70 per cent of pregnant women deliberately avoided taking medicines during pregnancy.

"The reasons included a fear of harming the unborn child, medication not being recommended or feeling as though they should endure as much as possible before taking medicines.

"Many medicines can be used safely during pregnancy to avoid women suffering unnecessarily from common conditions they may experience, for example: headache, heartburn, constipation etc.

"Lots of women in our survey stated they didn't take medicines to treat these conditions and this may be related to the perceived risks associated with routine treatments.

"Commonly, the medicine packets and website advice is vague and provides no further guidance to pregnant women.

"The best advice is if you're unsure about whether you can take a medicine for a particular condition, speak to your midwife, pharmacist or GP who'll guide you as to what medicines are appropriate and which ones should be avoided.

"This will ensure you aren't putting your child at risk while at the same time not suffering unnecessarily yourself."

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