I am a scientist from the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University. My work focuses on providing the health care professionals of pregnant women with information about how medicines that they take whilst pregnant may affect the developing baby.
We all know how important it is that the mother remains as healthy as she possibly can during pregnancy in order to give her baby the best environment in which to grow and develop. Unfortunately for some women, this will involve the use of medicines during pregnancy. Evidence suggests that if you are using medicines during pregnancy, you are not alone. It is estimated that as many as 4 in 5 pregnant women need to use medicines at some point in pregnancy, and they often have questions about how this use can affect their developing babies.
For the majority of commonly used medicines, such advice is available. However, new medicines are developed all the time, and in addition, advances are constantly made in medicine which means that women who were once too unwell to consider parenthood are becoming pregnant. In these cases, women will require the continued use of medicines which we often have little knowledge about when they are taken in pregnancy.
To better understand the effects medicines can have, we must monitor pregnant women who need to take these medicines to remain healthy during pregnancy. This is usually done through information provided by health care professionals; however, we believe the key to improving this research is involving the women who use these medicines on a daily basis.
I am currently involved with a project which is being run by the European Medicines Agency that aims to trial new ways of collecting information about pregnant women using medicines. The project is designed to follow the women over the course of their pregnancies through a series of short questionnaires which are used to describe the medicines they take along with other important details about health and lifestyle, and their pregnancy outcome. These questionnaires are answered using a secure internet tool which is fully compliant with data protection laws in the EU. We are hoping to recruit 1400 women from the UK to take part in this project.
So, if you are pregnant, taking medications and living in the UK, and you would like to help us improve our knowledge of how medicines can affect the developing baby I would encourage you to visit our project website (pregnancy4.eu) to find out more and enrol today.
In the mean time, please remember that if you are using medicines during pregnancy, and you are concerned about how it may affect your baby, you should speak with your GP who will be able to find out more information for you.
Thanks for reading, and best wishes for your pregnancy.