Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine
Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua
Our last column in this series on pregnancy. This column
should be one of the more useful ones. We are about to
discuss what needs to be avoided in pregnancy.
The first principle is that a one-time exposure of anything,
generally is not dangerous. It is repeated exposures that can
be dangerous. For example, drinking alcohol at Kiddush
or the four cups is not a problem at all, but abuse of
alcohol can cause fetal defects.
Smoking does affect the baby and can causes serious problems.
Please remember that even if you do not smoke, but your
husband does -- then you smoke as well. Secondhand smoke is
What you eat and drink probably has little to affect a fetus.
This of course is not the same for nursing mothers. However
an unbalanced diet is not good for a nursing baby or a fetus.
I do not believe that vitamins are necessary in most cases,
but I did know one person in the USA who was so busy, he
lived on just a candy bar.
Radiation is of course dangerous to a fetus, mostly in the
first and second trimesters. A chest X-ray with shielding is
perfectly safe, as are other x-rays if there is shielding.
Most technicians are up on this information and can advise
you. Nuclear scans are probably safe as well. Usually there
is no choice in doing these.
Medications: Asthma medications are safe and necessary to
continue in pregnancy as are diabetes medications. Seizure
medications -- especially Idantoin (dilantin) -- are
problematic and a neurologist must be involved. High blood
pressure medications can be a problem: calcium channel
blockers seem to be the safest. Hormones need to be generally
stopped, but if taken until pregnancy is obvious they will
cause no damage. There is an acne medication which is very
prone to causing birth defects, and some antibiotics are not
used in pregnancy. All the penicillin family including
amoxicillin and augmentin are fine, as are the cephalosporins
like our sponsor's Zinnat. Coumadin, a blood thinner, is a
problem. Individual questions? Write me in care of the
A message from Glaxo, sponsor of this column.
Augmentin and Zinnat are safe in pregnancy as is Imitrex. All
of Glaxo's asthma (Serevent, Ventolin, Flixotide-etc.) and
dermatology (Dermovate, Betnovate, Einnovate, Dactroban)
medications are safe in pregnancy Zofran, the anti-vomiting
drug, can also be used in pregnancy, and their immunizations
are safe as well. Further information can be obtained from
your doctor or Glaxo.