Pregnant women across the country are receiving or refilling prescriptions to treat hypertension. While this fact alone is not alarming, a new study revealed that an increasing number of women are taking these prescription drugs, even though the potential side-effects are unknown. This is news all expecting North Carolina parents may be interested to know.
At this point, medical researchers have no idea if anti-hypertension medication causes pregnancy-related complications, yet an astounding 4.4 percent of all women included in the study took the drugs during their pregnancy. The study indicated that automatically renewing prescriptions or doctors failing to ask about pregnancy are probable causes of this growing, potentially-dangerous trend.
Treating mild or moderate hypertension can reduce the risk of the condition from getting worse, according to the authors of the study. However, they caution that this treatment may not even reduce the risk of placental abruption, preterm birth or preeclampsia, serious pregnancy-related conditions often linked to high blood pressure.
The biggest problem is that doctors are ordering treatments, or allowing them to continue, without knowing the effects of the drugs on pregnant mothers or their developing babies. This is exactly why those who conducted the study urge researchers to study how anti-hypertension drugs impact pregnancy.
Doctors have a responsibility to be attentive to their patients' needs. Asking the right questions, such as whether or not someone is pregnant, before ordering a prescription or medical treatment is essential to ensure safety and minimize risk.
Though the verdict is still out on the relative safety or efficacy of hypertension medications during pregnancy, it is important for patients to be advised of their rights when their doctors make impactful medical decisions.
- Forbes, "Antihypertensive Use Among Pregnant Women on the Rise," Larry Husten, Sep. 10, 2012
- Our firm has the knowledge to handle a variety of medical malpractice cases. To find out more, please see our North Carolina pregnancy complications page.