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Matern Child Health J. 2018 Jan;22(1):92-100. doi: 10.1007/s10995-017-2358-0.

Making Decisions About Medication Use During Pregnancy: Implications for Communication Strategies.

Author information

1
RTI International, Center for Communication Science, 3040 E. Cornwallis Road, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, USA. mlynch@rti.org.
2
RTI International, Center for Communication Science, 3040 E. Cornwallis Road, P.O. Box 12194, Research Triangle Park, NC, 27709, USA.
3
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders, Atlanta, GA, 30341, USA.
4
United States Public Health Service, Atlanta, GA, USA.
5
March of Dimes Foundation, White Plains, NY, 10605, USA.

Abstract

Objective To explore women's perceptions of the risks and benefits associated with medication use during pregnancy and to better understand how women make decisions related to medication use in pregnancy. Methods We conducted online focus groups with 48 women who used medication during pregnancy or while planning a pregnancy, and 12 in-depth follow-up interviews with a subset of these women. Results We found that women were aware of general risks associated with medication use but were often unable to articulate specific negative outcomes. Women were concerned most about medications' impact on fetal development but were also concerned about how either continuing or discontinuing medication during pregnancy could affect their own health. Women indicated that if the risk of a given medication were unknown, they would not take that medication during pregnancy. Conclusion This formative research found that women face difficult decisions about medication use during pregnancy and need specific information to help them make decisions. Enhanced communication between patients and their providers regarding medication use would help address this need. We suggest that public health practitioners develop messages to (1) encourage, remind, and prompt women to proactively talk with their healthcare providers about the risks of taking, not taking, stopping, or altering the dosage of a medication while trying to become pregnant and/or while pregnant; and (2) encourage all women of childbearing age to ask their healthcare providers about medication use.

KEYWORDS:

Chronic disease; Medication; Preconception health; Pregnancy

PMID:
28900803
PMCID:
PMC5764786
DOI:
10.1007/s10995-017-2358-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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