Prescribing medication for pregnant and breastfeeding women can be complex, and often there are no studies to show whether drugs are safe for childbearing women. Yet mothers and mothers-to-be often need medication: whether painkillers, mental health drugs, or drugs for chronic conditions. The lack of studies does not mean that women should be left in pain or untreated – appropriate treatments, which will not compromise a mother and baby's health or the relationship between them, are often available, but in a climate of fear of litigation, and without access to good information, prescribers do not always find the best solutions for mothers and babies. Wendy Jones tackles these problems head on, giving mothers and those treating them the information they need to make decisions about medication, while allaying fears that many have about contamination, transmitting drugs to the baby in the womb or through breast milk, and the way side-effects are described in patient information leaflets. The result is a practical, reassuring book that aims to put mothers and babies at the heart of their own care.
Wendy Jones BSc, MSc, PhD, MRPharmS, lectures and provides training to support organizations on the safety of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding. She is based in Portsmouth, UK.