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Medicines that a pregnant woman should avoid and their effect on the health of the mother and the fetus

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

Medicines pregnant women should avoid

So far, scientists have not been able to classify how dangerous all drugs are for 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.

Nevertheless, scientists have classified the different drugs into 5 categories according to levels of risk, and the following is a sample of drugs that pregnant women are prohibited from taking completely, as they are classified from high risk drugs:

Istock Medicines pregnant women should avoid



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

Ciprofloxacin   و  levofloxacin

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin are also antibiotics.

According to what was stated on the site Healthline These medications can cause problems with the baby’s muscle development and skeletal system, as well as joint pain and potential nerve damage in the mother.

Fluoroquinolones can increase the risk of a rupture in a pregnant woman that may result in life-threatening bleeding.

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

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


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

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

It can cause jaundice in the newborn, and it may also increase the chances of miscarriage.

Trimethoprim (Primesol)

Trimethoprim (Primusol) 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 drug used to treat malaria. There is not much data on women who took this drug during pregnancy, but animal studies indicate that it is harmful to developing fetuses, as it can damage blood cells in the fetus.


Codeine is a prescription drug used to relieve pain, but in some areas it can be bought over the counter.

It is one of the drugs harmful to the health of the mother, as it negatively affects the development of the fetus.

Istock Medicines pregnant women should avoid
Istock Medicines pregnant women should avoid

Pain reliever ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

High doses of an over-the-counter pain reliever 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 trimester of pregnancy.

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

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Warfarin (Coumadin) is a blood thinner used to treat blood clots as well as prevent them.

It can cause birth defects in a fetus if the mother takes it.

Therefore, it should be avoided during pregnancy unless the risk of a blood clot is more dangerous than the risk of harming the baby, as the specialist decides this.

Clonazepam (Klonopin)

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

Taking clonazepam during pregnancy can cause symptoms in the newborn.

Lorazepam (Ativan)

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

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

Apart from these drugs, which are considered to be of a high degree of risk, a pregnant woman should not take any other types of medicine without consulting a specialist in order to ensure its safety and the safety of the fetus.


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