Juxtapose Between Orthodox Medicine And Modern Medical Care In The Life Of Pregnant Women
There may be times during pregnancy when using medicine is a choice. Some of the medicine choices you and your doctor make while you are pregnant may differ from the choices you make when you are not pregnant. For example, if you get a cold, you may decide to “live with” your stuffy nose instead of using the “stuffy nose” medicine you use when you are not pregnant.
Other times, using medicine is not a choice — it is needed. Some women need to use medicines while they are pregnant. Sometimes, women need medicine for a few days or a couple of weeks to treat a problem like a bladder infection or strep throat. Other women need to use medicine every day to control long-term health problems like asthma, diabetes, depression, or seizures. Also, some women have a pregnancy problem that needs treatment with medicine. These problems might include severe nausea and vomiting, earlier pregnancy losses, or preterm labor.
More than 50% of pregnant women take prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter) drugs or use social drugs (such as tobacco and alcohol) or illicit drugs at some time during pregnancy, and use of drugs during pregnancy is increasing. In general, drugs should not be used during pregnancy unless necessary because many can harm the fetus. Less than 2 to 3% of all birth defects result from drugs that are taken to treat a disorder or symptom.
Sometimes drugs are essential for the health of the pregnant woman and the fetus. In such cases, a woman should talk with her doctor or other health care practitioner about the risks and benefits of taking the drug. Before taking any drug (including over-the-counter drugs) or dietary supplement (including medicinal herbs), a pregnant woman should consult her health care practitioner. A health care practitioner may recommend that a woman take certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy.
Drugs taken by a pregnant woman reach the fetus primarily by crossing the placenta, the same route taken by oxygen and nutrients, which are needed for the fetus’s growth and development. However, drugs that do not cross the placenta may still harm the fetus by affecting the uterus or the placenta.
Drugs that a pregnant woman takes during pregnancy can affect the fetus in several ways:
- They can act directly on the fetus, causing damage, abnormal development (leading to birth defects), or death.
- They can alter the function of the placenta, usually by causing blood vessels to narrow (constrict) and thus reducing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus from the mother. Sometimes the result is a baby that is underweight and underdeveloped.
- They can cause the muscles of the uterus to contract forcefully, indirectly injuring the fetus by reducing its blood supply or triggering preterm labor and delivery.
- They can also affect the fetus indirectly. For example, drugs that lower the mother’s blood pressure may reduce blood flow to the placenta and thus reduce the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus.
How a drug affects a fetus depends on
- The fetus’s stage of development
- The strength and dose of the drug
- The permeability of the placenta (how easily substances pass through it)
- The genetic make-up of the mother, which affects how much of the drug is active and available
- Other factors related to the mother (for example, if the mother is vomiting, she may not absorb as much of a drug, so the fetus is exposed to less of the drug)
Vaccines During Pregnancy
Immunization is as effective in women who are pregnant as in those who are not.
Vaccines made with a live virus (such as the rubella vaccine and varicella vaccine) are not given to women who are or might be pregnant.
Other vaccines (such as those for cholera, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, plague, rabies, and typhoid) are given to pregnant women only if they are at substantial risk of developing that particular infection and if the risk of side effects from the vaccine is low.
However, all pregnant women who are in the 2nd or 3rd trimester during the influenza (flu) season should be given the influenza vaccine.
All pregnant women should be given the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy. This vaccine protects against pertussis (whooping cough).
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy. (See also CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.)
Drugs Used to Treat Heart and Blood Vessel Disorders During Pregnancy
Drugs to lower high blood pressure (antihypertensives) may be needed by pregnant women who have had high blood pressure before pregnancy or who develop it during pregnancy. Either type of high blood pressure increases the risk of problems for the woman (such as preeclampsia) and for the fetus (see page High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy). However, antihypertensives can markedly reduce blood flow to the placenta if they lower blood pressure too rapidly in pregnant women. So pregnant women who have to take these drugs are closely monitored.
Several types of antihypertensives, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and thiazide diuretics, are usually not given to pregnant women. These drugs can cause serious problems in the fetus, such as kidney damage, inadequate growth before birth (growth restriction), and birth defects. Spironolactone is also not given to pregnant women. This drug may cause the development of feminine characteristics (feminization) in a male fetus.
Digoxin, used to treat heart failure and some abnormal heart rhythms, readily crosses the placenta. But at the usual doses, digoxin typically has little effect on the baby before or after birth.
Antidepressants During Pregnancy
Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine, are commonly used during pregnancy. Use is common because about 7 to 23% of pregnant women have depression. For pregnant women, the benefits of treating depression usually outweigh the risks.
Paroxetine appears to increase the risk of heart birth defects. So if a pregnant woman takes paroxetine, echocardiography should be done to evaluate the fetus’s heart. However, other SSRIs do not increase this risk.
If a pregnant woman takes antidepressants, the newborn may have withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability and shaking) after delivery. To prevent these symptoms, doctors may gradually reduce the dose of the antidepressant during the 3rd trimester and stop the drug before the baby is born. However, if the woman has significant signs of depression or if symptoms worsen as the dose is reduced, antidepressants should be continued. Depression during pregnancy can lead to postpartum depression, which involves a serious change in mood and requires treatment.
Antiviral Drugs During Pregnancy
Some antiviral drugs (such as zidovudine and ritonavir for HIV infection) have been safely used during pregnancy for many years. However, some antiviral drugs may cause problems in the fetus. For example, some evidence suggests that when some HIV regimens with a combination of antiviral drugs are given during the 1st trimester, the risk of cleft lip and palate may be increased.
If a pregnant woman gets COVID-19, her treatment team and she should discuss the risks and benefits for her and then decide whether remdesivir should be used to treat COVID-19. Generally, experts recommend that theoretical concerns about the safety of remdesivir during pregnancy should not prevent its use in pregnant women. There are little data about the effects of remdesivir on the fetus.
If a pregnant woman gets influenza, she should seek treatment as soon as possible because treating influenza within 48 hours of when symptoms begin is most effective. However, treatment at any point during the infection reduces the risk of severe complications. No well-designed studies of zanamivir and oseltamivir have been done in pregnant women. However, many studies based on observation indicate that treating pregnant women with zanamivir or oseltamivir does not increase the risk of harmful effects. There is little or no information about the use of other influenza drugs during pregnancy.
Acyclovir, taken by mouth or applied to the skin, appears to be safe during pregnancy.
Social Drugs During Pregnancy
Cigarette (tobacco) smoking during pregnancy
Although cigarette smoking harms both pregnant women and their fetus, only about 20% of women who smoke are able to quit during pregnancy.
The most consistent effect of smoking on the fetus during pregnancy is
- A reduction in birth weight (growth restriction)
The more a woman smokes during pregnancy, the less the baby is likely to weigh. The average birth weight of babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy is 6 ounces less than that of babies born to women who do not smoke.
Birth defects of the heart, brain, and face are more common among babies of smokers than among those of nonsmokers.
Also, the risk of the following may be increased:
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- A mislocated placenta (placenta previa)
- Premature detachment of the placenta (placental abruption, or abruptio placentae)
- Premature rupture of the membranes (containing the fetus)
- Preterm labor
- Uterine infections
- Premature births
In addition, children of women who smoke have slight but measurable deficiencies in physical growth and in intellectual and behavioral development. These effects are thought to be caused by carbon monoxide and nicotine. Carbon monoxide may reduce the oxygen supply to the body’s tissues. Nicotine stimulates the release of hormones that constrict the vessels supplying blood to the uterus and placenta, so that less oxygen and fewer nutrients reach the fetus.
Because of the possible harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy, pregnant women should make every effort to not smoke during pregnancy, including discussing strategies with their doctor.
Pregnant women should avoid exposure to secondhand smoke because it may similarly harm the fetus.
Alcohol during pregnancy
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is the leading known cause of birth defects. Because the amount of alcohol required to cause fetal alcohol syndrome is unknown, pregnant women are advised to abstain from drinking any alcohol regularly or on binges. Avoiding alcohol altogether is even safer.
Caffeine during pregnancy
Whether consuming caffeine during pregnancy harms the fetus is unclear. Evidence seems to suggest that consuming caffeine in small amounts (for example, one cup of coffee a day) during pregnancy poses little or no risk to the fetus.
Caffeine, which is contained in coffee, tea, some sodas, chocolate, and some drugs, is a stimulant that readily crosses the placenta to the fetus.
Some evidence suggests that drinking more than seven cups of coffee a day may increase the risk of having a stillbirth, premature birth, low-birth-weight baby, or miscarriage.
Some experts recommend limiting coffee consumption and drinking decaffeinated beverages when possible.
Aspartame during pregnancy
Aspartame, an artificial sweetener, appears to be safe during pregnancy when it is consumed in small amounts, such as in amounts used in normal portions of artificially sweetened foods and beverages. For example, pregnant women should consume no more than 1 liter of diet soda a day.
Pregnant women with phenylketonuria, an unusual disorder, should not consume any aspartame.
Drugs Used During Labor and Delivery
Drugs used to relieve pain during pregnancy (such as local anesthetics and opioids) usually cross the placenta and can affect the newborn. For example, they can weaken the newborn’s urge to breathe. Therefore, if these drugs are needed during labor, they are given in the smallest effective doses.
JUXTAPOSE BETWEEN ORTHODOX MEDICINE AND MODERN MEDICAL CARE IN THE LIFE OF PREGNANT WOMEN
The only way to begin is by breaking down the meaning of natural medicine and orthodox medicine. Orthodox medicine refers to the mainstream model of medicine where doctors and other healthcare professionals treat people based on their symptoms and diseases.
Utilization of orthodox health facilities for maternal health services is determined by factors operating at the individual, household, community and state level. The prevalence of small family norm is one of the identified variables operating within the community which influences the decision of where to access care (orthodox/traditional).
Do you know natural medicine has been used for more than 10,000 years while modern medicine is only a few hundred years old? It is no surprise natural medicine has its benefits when compared to orthodox medicine. Juxtapose Between Orthodox Medicine And Modern Medical Care In The Life Of Pregnant Women
Natural medicine is less invasive than orthodox medicine
Forget needing to have foreign objects inserted into your body to relieve your symptoms, or having to take medications with chemicals that do not belong in your body. Natural medicine only uses ingredients found in nature and ingredients that are naturally made in your body to heal you.
Remedial massage, which also works hand-in-hand with natural medicine, also uses non-invasive techniques to provide relief from acute pain and chronic pain, improve body functions, and stimulates your body’s healing process.
Natural medicine invokes the healing power of the body; orthodox medicine does not
The ingredients in natural medicines are naturally made and regularly produced by your body. By using natural medicines, you do not only enhance your body’s natural healing process and treat your illness; you also strengthen your immune system!
Having a strong and healthy immune system means your body is protected from infection and sickness and can easily fight it.
Natural medicine has fewer side effects than orthodox medicine
Orthodox medicines are known for their harsh and harmful side effects.
Most people are not aware of the side effects that might come with the medications they are using. This is often due to a lack of education from their medical practitioner and at times, their pharmacist.
Sometimes, the only information they might receive about their medication is on a medicine information sheet, which is not often discussed with them.
Since natural medicine is made from natural ingredients that can also be naturally produced by our bodies, they do not have any harmful chemicals that can throw your body out of balance.
Natural medicine is not a symptom suppressant, orthodox medicine is a symptom suppressant
Orthodox medicines are symptom suppressants. They do not treat the underlying cause of your illness. Instead, they suppress your symptoms.
Here’s the thing: even though your symptoms have been suppressed, your illness still exists.
If your medication stops working, your symptoms can come back worse than before. This starts a new and repetitive cycle of starting and trying new medications to help suppress your original symptoms. Keep in mind these new medications can come with more side effects of their own.
Natural medicine is not a symptom suppressant. One of the principles surrounding natural medicine is finding and treating the underlying cause of your illness. At East West Natural Medicine Group, we do this through pathology tests. By basing our treatments on pathology tests, we can treat the underlying cause of your illness instead of just masking your symptoms.
Natural medicine focuses on your entire body for healing, orthodox medicine only focuses on your symptoms
In the orthodox medicine model, you see your practitioner for fifteen or so minutes to discuss your symptoms. After that, you are given a medicine prescription to mask those symptoms. Your entire body is not examined for answers as to why your symptoms are happening.
As a Natural Medicine Practitioner, I treat you as a person, not just your symptoms. I believe every symptom is an external indication of an internal imbalance due to any combination of physical, mental, or emotional causes. This means that I focus on your entire body for healing. This includes your emotional, mental, and physical health.
Unlike orthodox medicine, natural medicine empowers you to take control of your health
Orthodox medicine is not empowering. The disconnect and impersonal relationship between Orthodox Medicine Practitioners and their patients does not leave room for empowerment.
Natural medicine empowers you to take control of your health.
As well as treating you, I am passionate about educating you and empowering you with tips and advice to manage your health. During our consultations, I discuss multiple aspects of your health with you to create an individual, effective, and evidence-based treatment plan based on pathology tests. Juxtapose Between Orthodox Medicine And Modern Medical Care In The Life Of Pregnant Women