Maternal medication use while pregnant and/or breastfeeding
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During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, many women are required to take medications for pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or mental illnesses. However, some of these medications are considered unsafe for fetuses or infants and these medications are collectively called category X medications. Category X medications are those that have demonstrated causing fetal abnormalities or evidence of human risk based on adverse reactions; examples include blindness and Down syndrome. Other medications, including the cholesterol management drug atorvastatin and the blood thinner Warfarin, are classified as category X because there is not much information or research on their effects. Certain category X medications are necessary to maintain the optimal quality of life for the women taking them; in some cases, the discontinuation of these medications can have life-threatening effects on mothers. Many mothers choose to stop taking category X medications during pregnancy to avoid risk to their fetuses; often, these mothers choose to breastfeed and continue to not use these drugs because they can be passed through that breastmilk to the child. The discontinuation of these drugs can have life-threatening effects on mothers.