Treatment of a pregnant patient

Treatment of a pregnant patient

Maternal health is critical in maintaining the viability and function of both mother and fetus during pregnancy. It is therefore important to treat the mother for illnesses, that may complicate the pregnancy through maternal illness. Although, for every drug the risks and benefits should be weighed out. Ideally, a patient should seek information about drugs and their potential effect on fetal development before becoming pregnant. Women of childbearing age taking known teratogenic drugs for therapeutic indications should be advised to adhere strictly to effective contraception. A pregnant woman may believe that no drugs of any kind should be taken during pregnancy, or she may have other incorrect information or beliefs that lead to noncompliance. Inadequate treatment of the maternal illness may further endanger the mother and fetus. On the other hand, she may believe

nonprescription drugs do not pose any hazard to her child since they are so readily available for self-medication.

What are considerations in the following situations?

Chronic maternal diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, and asthma must continue to be treated throughout pregnancy to protect the mother’s health as well as the integrity of the child’s development. Chronic diseases may be more safely managed during pregnancy with alternative drugs used for the condition that have not been implicated in teratogenesis.

Acute maternal diseases such as infections must also be effectively managed. Choice of anti-infectives may be made balancing efficacy with risk. For fever or pain, NSAIDs are not recommended during the third trimester; therefore paracetamol is a good alternative.