Taking Nifedipine during Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

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Taking Nifedipine during Pregnancy - Is It Safe?

Nifedipine is one of the most effective drugs to prevent the unwanted early labour. If you are heading towards preterm labour for unexplained reasons, then chances are your doctor will put you on Nifedipine. However, before taking this drug, first, you need to understand its use and side effects. It may work like magic for many pregnant women, but the same may not hold true for you. Moreover, it may even not be suitable for you subject to its side effects.

What Is Nifedipine?

Nifedipine is an anti-contraction medicine. It helps in slowing down the uterine contractions which in turn delays the preterm labour. It is a calcium channel blocker which helps in treating medical conditions like high blood pressure and heart diseases.

How Does Nifedipine Work during Pregnancy

Basically, nifedipine slows down the contractions in the uterus since its a calcium channel blocker and the uterus requires calcium to contract. However, nifedipine obstructs the pathways, preventing calcium to reach to the uterus. So, you must be wondering how it helps in delaying the labour, aren’t you? Nifedipine blocks the calcium and allows the uterus and other soft tissues in one’s body to relax which in turn delays the labour.

When Is Nifedipine Used in Pregnancy

Typically, your doctor will put you on nifedipine if you are susceptible to an unexplained preterm labour. The following cases usually lead to the prescription of nifedipine by your doctor:

  • If you are diagnosed with thinning of regular uterine contractions, and if your cervix dilates to 4 cm way earlier than your due date.
  • An outbreak of unexpected labour, even while the mother’s amniotic sac is intact.
  • Unexpected labour, despite the fact that the foetus is not in distress and still has time until the due date.
  • When other uterus contraction preventing medicines such as terbutaline (Beta- Sympathetic medicine) proves to be ineffective.
  • If the intake of other drugs has been ceased considering the unwanted side effects.
  • If there is a need to delay the labour for 24 to 48 hours to treat other underlying conditions such as corticosteroid treatment (lungs of the foetus are treated).

Side Effects of Nifedipine during Pregnancy

Although nifedipine works wonder for most of the women, by delaying the preterm labour, it has a few side effects like many other medicines. Usually, it is believed to inflict no damage or side effects on mother or on her child with an exception to serious medical cases. Following are some of the common side effects of taking nifedipine during pregnancy:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Red skin rashes
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hot or warm flashes
  • Heart palpitations
  • Feeling faintSS ID: 613064750 (ALT:<A pregnant woman with a headache>)

Tips for Pregnant Women

It is always recommended to avoid any sort of unnecessary medication, especially, if it is something which is not prescribed by your doctor. Following are some tips for you to have a better understanding:

  • It is highly unlikely for your doctor to prescribe this medicine unless in case of sudden preterm labour. Moreover, in any other situation, this medicine will not be used at any point during pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy is a delicate phase. Ensure that you follow through the advice of your doctor and are taking your medications on time.
  • Nifedipine and such other medicines are prescribed only in extreme cases.
  • If there is a possibility of using nifedipine during preterm labour, then it’s always better to discuss it in detail with your gynaecologist to rule out any odds.
  • Pregnancy requires the utmost level of care to ensure the safety of mother and child. If you are expected to have a preterm labour for reasons other than medical, then it becomes even more crucial for you to pay attention towards your health and well-being.
  • To analyse your condition precisely, your doctor also requires your correct medical history. So, always be honest to communicate your medical history with your doctor.

When To Call a Doctor

During pregnancy, you will experience a multitude of changes in your body. However, understanding those changes and their timings is also crucial to rule out any odd event. Normally, a normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. However, if one’s labour starts during at 37th week or before that, then it may prove harmful to both, mother and child. Hence, it is advisable to seek medical attention as early as possible. Following are some symptoms indicating that you need to visit a doctor at earliest:

  1. Frequent contractions
  2. Lower abdominal pressure
  3. Vaginal spotting or bleeding
  4. Pelvic pressure
  5. Vaginal discharge
  6. Diarrhoea
  7. Water breaking

Consult with your doctor right away if you experience any of the above symptoms or other issues. It’s always better to address an issue at its earlier stage to ensure safety and health of the mother and her child. It is also recommended that you consult with your doctor before taking any medication, especially, if it’s a drug like nifedipine which is used only in the emergency situations.

Also Read: Reasons To Call Your Doctor In Pregnancy

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