Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP) is the most prevalent medical condition during gestation, affecting up to 85% of pregnant women. Many of them hesitate to use medications due to perceived fetal risks. Areas covered: There are two main aspects to medication safety in NVP: The fetal safety of drugs used to treat NVP symptoms, and the risks of untreated NVP. While mild and moderate NVP are not associated with major increase in fetal or maternal risks, and may render protective fetal effects, they have major impact on the quality of life of the mother. In contrast, severe NVP and hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) are associated with increased maternal and fetal risks, from in utero growth restriction to developmental delay. For the doxylamine/pyridoxine combination, H1blockers and metoclopramide there are large studies documenting fetal safety. There are also large reassuring studies on the fetal safety of ondansetron, but they are contrasted by some studies claiming increased fetal risk. Expert opinion: Fetal safety of the doxylamine/pyridoxine combination, H1blockers and for metoclopramide has been documented. Reassuring studies on the fetal safety of ondansetron, are contrasted by some studies claiming increased teratogenicity. More studies are needed to quantify fetal risks of HG.
Keywords: H1 blockers; Pregnancy; antiemetic medications; doxylamine-pyridoxine; metoclopramide; nausea and vomiting; ondansetron.