Prescription Drugs

Nine in 10 pregnant women take at least one medication during pregnancy, and 70% of pregnant women take at least one prescription drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, it is important to speak with your doctor about every medication you take – even over-the-counter drugs and supplements. A study of 172 drugs approved in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010 found that nearly 98% of them had an “undetermined” impact on a developing child. Think about that. When it comes to new drugs, almost 10 times out of 10, experts simply don’t know what effect a drug has when taken during pregnancy. That’s all the reason in the world to be skeptical of any medicines during and immediately before pregnancy.

In fact, some drugs can harm a baby even when taken shortly before pregnancy.

The following drugs have been found to increase the risk of certain birth defects:


  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)

According to a CDC study conducted from 1998 to 2005, 4.5% of pregnant women took an anti-depressant either immediately before or during pregnancy.


  • Depakote (divalproex sodium)
  • Tegretol (carbamazepine)
  • Topamax (topiramate)

Anti-convulsants are heavily associated with a defect known as spina bifida, in which a portion of the spinal cord is not protected by the vertebrae of the spine.
Painkillers (Analgesics)

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone

Other Drugs

  • Accutane (isotretinoin) — acne drug
  • Clomid (clomiphene citrate) — fertility drug
  • Diflucan (fluconazole) — anti-fungal drug
  • Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) – labor-inducing drug