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Commonly prescribed prescriptions could cause birth defects

A recent study has revealed that a surprising number of women have been prescribed prescription pain killers during pregnancy, possibly causing an increased risk of birth defects. This study found that a large number of women took pain medicine for pregnancy aches and pains, including in Maryland. It is possible that particular medications, specifically those containing opioids, may cause certain birth defects.

While it is not clear why doctors continue to prescribe potentially dangerous medications, there is a definite connection between opioids and codeine and defects. These particular birth defects can include heart defects, spina bifida and other damages. There is even a certain amount of proof that infants will show signs of dependency and withdrawal after birth.

It is normal for women to experience a certain amount of pain during pregnancy. However, it seems that American women use more medication than women in Europe, suggesting that these medications may not always be necessary. It is estimated that 6 percent of women in their first and second trimesters take pain killers, along with about 6 percent in their third trimester.

If a pregnant woman has a baby with birth defects after taking prescription painkillers, there may be certain options for the family. When a doctor prescribes these medications, it should only be after thoroughly explaining all of the risks involved. Truthfully, opioids and codeine should only be prescribed in rare occasions during a pregnancy. If a Maryland woman feels that she may not have been properly informed of the risks of certain medications, she may wish to consider legal action for any birth defects suffered.

Source:, 1 in 7 Pregnant Women Prescribed Opioid Painkillers, Pat Anson, Feb. 17, 2014

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