Mothers-to-be have questions: who knows the answers?

Pregnancy is a time of roller coaster emotions for a mother-to-be, particularly a first-timer. And these emotions bring about endless questions. But when it comes to medicine use – who are these women turning to for answers? And are women in different countries looking for help in the same places?

Pregnancytaboos_pregnant-headache-130531That’s exactly what a group of academics asked themselves when researching a paper on medicines information needs during pregnancy (published in the medical journal BMJ Open). Surveying more than 7,000 women from over 20 countries, participants were asked whether or not they needed information about medicines during their pregnancy, and where they got that information from.

The results suggest that women aren’t happy with the answers they’re getting. The women surveyed all said that they would turn to their physician, midwife or a pharmacist for information about medicine use in pregnancy. And 60% of the interviewees stated that they turned to the Internet for information about drug use during pregnancy; a smaller percentage turned to family or friends for advice.

While these answers throw up few surprises, the study does raise one concern: on average, each respondent said they turned to three different information sources when they wanted to know about medicine use during pregnancy. What does this suggest? That whoever’s giving them answers isn’t conveying confidence or conviction, and pregnant women then go elsewhere for confirmation.

This study implies that across the globe, healthcare professionals – and here it could be doctors, pharmacists, nurses or midwives – may not always have the answers about medicines and pregnancy. Or they’re unsure what to tell their pregnant patients about pregnancy and drug use. Doesn’t this uncertainty back the case for greater research on this topic?

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