Research Obstetrics| Volume 205, ISSUE 1, P51.e1-51.e8, July 2011

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Medication use during pregnancy, with particular focus on prescription drugs: 1976-2008

Published:April 25, 2011DOI:


      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.


      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.


      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.

      Key words

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