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Rev Bras Ginecol Obstet. 2008 Jan;30(1):12-8.

[Drug use during pregnancy in Natal, Brazil].

[Article in Portuguese]

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  • 1Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brasil.



to study the use of medicines by pregnant women during prenatal care in clinics of the national public health system in the city of Natal, Brazil.


a total of 610 pregnant women between the first and the third trimesters of pregnancy were interviewed in the public clinics of the four sanitary districts of Natal, from May to July 2006. The data were collected by a structured questionnaire, based in use-oriented and medicine-oriented questions. The drugs were classified according to the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (ATC), in agreement with the gestation risk criteria from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA). The statistical analysis was made by the chi2 test.


a total of 1,505 drugs were used, with an average of 2.4 medications per woman. The use of at least one drug was found in 86.6% of the women. The most frequently used drugs were anti-anemics (35.6%), analgesics (24.9%), drugs for gastrointestinal disorders (9.1%) and vitamins (7%). According to the FDA classification, 42.7% belonged to category A risk, 27.1% to category B, 29.3% to category C, 0.3% to category D and none to category X. The use of medicines during the first trimester of pregnancy amounted to 43.6%. The rate of drug use increased with higher schooling level and family income. Self-medication was found in 12.2% of the drug intake and this rate was higher in the first trimester of gestation and with women with low education level and previous gestations.


pregnant women from Natal are being exposed to a variety of medicines with uncertain safety in pregnancy. Therefore, more careful prescription is needed, to avoid possible fetal damage.

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