Key Findings About Medicine and Pregnancy

CDC and its partners conduct important research on the effects of medications during pregnancy. Listed below are key findings from some of these studies and a list of articles that might be of interest. This information is not comprehensive and does not include all scientific articles available on medicine and pregnancy. Click on the links to learn more about each study.

Use of the Antidepressant Venlafaxine During Early Pregnancy May Be Linked to Specific Birth Defects
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarified previous research findings on the relationship between use of antidepressants during early pregnancy and risk for specific birth defects.
(Published: August 5, 2020)

Pregnant Women Report Taking Medicines for Anxiety and Other Mental Health Conditions
Two studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that a small number of women reported taking benzodiazepines or atypical antipsychotic medicines during pregnancy.
(Published: February 3, 2020)

Use of ADHD Medicine is Increasing among Pregnant Women
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that an increasing number of pregnant women are taking attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medicine.

Women and Healthcare Providers “Play it Safe” with Medicine Use During Pregnancy
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the March of Dimes and RTI International, found that women want to be actively engaged in making decisions about the medicines they take during pregnancy. However, there are not enough informational materials to tell women and their providers what medicines are safe to use during pregnancy.

Use of Pain Medicine During Early Pregnancy May Be Related To Birth Defects
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women who took NSAIDs and opioid pain medicines during early pregnancy were more likely to have babies affected with certain birth defects compared with women who took acetaminophen.

Antidepressant Prescription Claims among Reproductive-aged Women
CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published a new study looking at how often women aged 15-44 years filled a prescription for an antidepressant medication.

Assessing YouTube Videos for Content on Medication Use during Pregnancy
The journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety published a new study looking at the content of YouTube videos.

A Closer Look at the Link Between Specific SSRIs and Birth Defects
New CDC study findings refute some earlier reported links but confirm other links observed between birth defects and some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are medications used to treat depression and other mental health conditions.

Opioid Use among Women Aged 15-44
CDC researchers found that during 2008–2012, on average, 28% of women aged 15-44 years with private health insurance and 39% of women with Medicaid filled a prescription written by a healthcare provider for an opioid medication.

Prescription Medication Use among Women in the United States, 1999-2006
The Maternal and Child Health Journal published a CDC study where researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to better understand the frequency of prescription medication use among pregnant women and non-pregnant women between 15-44 years of age.

Antihistamines and Birth Defects
In a CDC study, researchers reviewed more than 50 published scientific articles to see if there was a risk of birth defects from using antihistamines, like allergy medication, during pregnancy.