Medicines and pregnancy: the problem, the status & the way forward
Medical care during pregnancy is lacking proper data and approximately 90% of pregnant women take medicine without knowing the consequences. A lack of data and research in this field means that both clinicians and patients do not have the tools or the specialist knowledge to make informed decisions when it comes to taking medication during pregnancy. To really shift medical thinking and address our concerns as healthcare professionals, collaboration between all stakeholders – from clinicians to patients – is key.
Numerous initiatives conducted to develop standards and collect data have not provided the all-important risk-benefit information for prescribing medication during pregnancy. The barriers we currently face are limited awareness and insufficient training in the field. In addition, we are facing methodological issues in the acquisition of useable data, including a lack of standardization and central data collection.
The Way Forward
There is a positive way to move forward and resolve this global public health concern. A cross-stakeholder consortium is needed to address the gaps in communication and engagement and to facilitate the generation and collection of data. Consortium stakeholders must focus on research standards and new awareness initiatives as well as the development of alternative methods for capturing data. A neutral platform will bring everyone together, from patients and healthcare providers to the researchers and regulators who develop needed medicines.