Objective: The objective of the study was to provide information on overall medication use throughout pregnancy, with particular focus on the first trimester and specific prescription medications.
Study design: The study design included the Slone Epidemiology Center Birth Defects Study, 1976-2008, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997-2003, which together interviewed more than 30,000 women about their antenatal medication use.
Results: Over the last 3 decades, first-trimester use of prescription medication increased by more than 60%, and the use of 4 or more medications more than tripled. By 2008, approximately 50% of women reported taking at least 1 medication. Use of some specific medications markedly decreased or increased. Prescription medication use increased with maternal age and education, was highest for non-Hispanic whites, and varied by state.
Conclusion: These data reflect the widespread and growing use of medications by pregnant women and reinforce the need to study their respective fetal risks and safety.
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