Digging deeper: how the OPRU is uncovering pregnancy taboos

OPRUThere’s no question that healthcare professionals and mothers-to-be have many questions when it comes to taking medicines during pregnancy. So who’s breaking new ground in the search for answers to these questions?

The Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Units Network is one organization. It’s a network of sites across four US universities that investigate the effects of drugs in pregnant and breastfeeding women, to help find solid answers for prescribers and patients.

The OPRU is currently focusing on four areas of research: gestational diabetes, drugs to treat preeclampsia, agents that may affect uterine activity, and medicines such as antibiotics and antidepressants. The researchers have found that standard advice on drug dosing may not always be appropriate in pregnancy; research published in 2012, for example, helps explain why drugs administered during pregnancy may not always work the way they’re expected to.

While the extent of the OPRU’s influence depends on many factors, including funding and finding participants for trials, it is an example of progress. Researchers in this area are daring to break pregnancy taboos, while those elsewhere prefer to ignore this important area of healthcare.

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