Birth Defects and Morning Sickness Medication

Posted on Nov 9, 2011 | About Morning Sickness, Articles Category | | Print This Article

Most of us having babies in this century have never heard of thalidomide. But during the late 19500s and 1960s, it created quite a stir.

Thalidomide was a drug commonly used in Europe at that time for morning sickness. It was never approved for use is the United States. And the birth defects which were eventually linked to it ensured that the FDA would never approve it for use here.

Or did it?

Birth defects commonly associated with thalidomide include:

  • Malformation of legs and feet.
  • Missing limbs.
  • Vision problems.
  • Malformation or absence of ears.
  • Heart defects.
  • Malformation of genitals.
  • Malformation of kidneys.
  • Digestive tract impairment.
  • Nervous system impairment.

It is important to point out that thalidomide was never widely used for morning sickness in the United States, though it did see some usage in clinical trials. It saw its most heavy use in Germany and the United Kingdom during the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. In both countries, there was significant evidence that the drug was leading to birth defects long before its use was discontinued.

Thalidomide may not be an option for treating morning sickness in the United States, but several other medications are. Make sure, before taking any medication for morning sickness (or anything else during pregnancy) that you thoroughly discuss any possible effects on you or the baby.

Try Non-Medicinal Solutions First

Before trying any medication for morning sickness, exhaust your other options first. Your doctor, nurse practitioner, or midwife can give you suggestions regarding how to best overcome or cope with morning sickness. These options range from common knowledge (nibbling saltines) to less obvious (such as herbal remedies).

We’d all like to think that the morning sickness medications which are available here are safe. And chances are, they are. After all, the FDA tests all medications rigorously before approving them for general use in the United States.

Still, potentially harmful side effects of any given medication may not surface for many years after the fact (a whole industry exists to sue pharmaceutical companies whose products had unexpected consequences). Whenever possible, it’s better to use safe natural remedies rather than using medication.

So, what do you think? Have you used any medications for morning sickness? What was the result?

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