I recently Read two articles that I found very interesting. The first article was about the FDA and how they are requiring drug companies to prevent more detailed risks of taking their medicines during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Prior to this new requirement, drug companies used an alphabet system to indicate risk, with ‘X’ being the most dangerous. They found that this system was a bit to broad and as a result, some drugs could not be completely categorized, or did not fit all the criteria of a particular category.
The new system, is more specific, and breaks down the risk into 3 parts: pregnancy, lactation, and fertility. This method requires drug companies to give a complete breakdown of the risk and the reactions that have resulted from taking the drug, in all three categories.
According to the article, most pregnant women in the United States take an average of three to five prescription drugs when they are pregnant, so it is important for them to know what exactly they are consuming and whether or not it will harm their fetus. The only thing that the new system does not do, is require these drug companies to carry out studies if there aren’t any on their drugs. I think requiring them to provide all the information available is a very good start, however the next move should be to get them to conduct studies and research where there is none.
The second article I read was on the smart nurseries.
In class, someone (I apologize, I do not remember who) presented on attachment between mother and infant. This article is not necessarily similar, it discusses a new monitor that parents can use to check the heart-rate and sleep patterns of their newborns. The article also shows they way advancements in technology and a continuous update in the number of baby gadgets available can sometimes take away from the natural connection that a parent can give his/her/their child. The issue with technology, is that it is not always reliable. If your monitor isn’t charged, it will not work. If it suddenly stops working in the middle of the night, as these things sometimes do, what then do you do?
To be honest, I think baby gadgets are very useful and can relieve some of the stress that comes with parenting (unless of course you are not tech savvy in which case, you would have a difficult time figuring out these gadgets and reading their data) however the results can not always be relied upon, especially with things as trivial as heart beat regulation and sleep in infants.
Hey Adaora, these were two interesting articles. The first one about drugs that are labeled dangerous for pregnant women is a controversial subject. I believe this system designates “X” as a confirmed teratogen, but other drugs do not have this label are not confirmed, and so get a less obvious label. This could be confusing or can be completely disregarded by the consumer. I think it’s great that there’s now a new system with clearer guidelines that help the consumer have a better picture of the drug that they are taking, especially women who are or may be pregnant.
You bring up an interesting topic in the second article about how technological advancements have shaped the interaction between parents and their infants. These gadgets are getting more and more detailed, but, as you point out, are they really necessary? Do they take away from the parent-infant bond? In my opinion, they do and they don’t. They are not necessary, but they can make life more adaptable to the busy world we live in. However, I don’t think they interfere with the parent-infant bond necessarily. Some technological advancements have helped facilitate this bond, such as musical therapy as way to help soothe baby and allow parents to provide a calm and engaging environment with their infant.
The article regarding to the new FDA regulation of labels on drugs is definitely a great improvement to show the risks associated with prescription drugs and the effects they can have throughout pregnancy. However, one aspect of pharmaceutical companies that many people may not be aware of is that these companies often sponsor or fund the entire research project. They can essentially “own” the research project so that they control which parts of the study is released. Often times, they release the evidence that only supports the efficacy of their drug and downplay the negative aspects of their drug. They hire ghost writers to do this downplaying. This is really scary in how the patient will not know about these negative side affects of the drug they are taking since the pharmaceutical company is not releasing this information.
With this in mind, I would be cautious in the drugs you take while being pregnant. I would personally try to not take anything to the best of my ability. I know many people are on anti-depressants efforts should be made to try talk-therapy or other alternatives while being pregnant. The adverse side affects on the child is too much of a risk. It could potentially affect the child for the rest of their life.
This issue is close to my heart, because most of my family is on antidepressants. Most psychotropic medication fits perfectly within the set-up the first article discusses; untested or not well-tested on pregnant mothers, and thus assigned a C class. With medications for physical ailments, people can better visualize the need of the patient to take them, and often the effect on the baby. With the rapidly changing field of medication for mental illness, there is little time to know either of these things. Cymbalta, for example, is only ten years old. SSRIs and SSNIs show much of the same characteristics as opiates on the child, making them jittery, irritable, and a seizure risk when born if not provided the same medication consistently, a problem known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. There are few long-term studies on the effects of this occurring in a baby as they mentally progress, though it’s clear most of the effects are cognitive in basis, and so it’s hard to predict the cognitive development of the child. So then, if the mother is good at self-care and not a suicide risk, the advice is to not take the medication so long as she does not become a risk to herself, but without it, she’s another kind of chemical imbalance, that of a person both stressed and depressed, and stress in utero also has a profoundly negative effect on the child as well; though it’s again not well researched, it shows evidence of more frequent spontaneous abortion and changes in brain development. Honestly, looking at this, I can’t tell which is the ethical choice.
Hampton, T. (2006) Antidepressants and pregnancy. Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(14). 1631-3.
Mulder, E. J, Medinaa, R. D., Huizinkb, A. C., Berghc, V. D., Buitelaarb, B. K., & Vissera, G. H. (2002). Prenatal maternal stress: effects on pregnancy and the (unborn) child. Early Human Development, 70(2). 3-14.