What Is a Pregnancy Registry & Why Should I Be in One?

Pregnancy Registry

It’s not about getting a gift – it’s about giving a gift.

Here’s the problem:

  • About 4.5 million pregnant women in the US need to use prescription medication during their pregnancies to treat conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, depression, epilepsy, migraines, asthma, and infections.
  • Less than 10% of medications on the market have information about whether they are safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Most pharmaceutical companies do not test drugs on pregnant women. For new drugs, we have to rely on the studies conducted on animals for information about the drugs’ effects on pregnancies. For older drugs, we have to rely on the experiences of pregnant women who have used the drugs in the past – but that information is not collected or shared in any systematic way. We usually only hear about the bad news, but not the good news.

You can be part of the solution:

  • A pregnancy registry is a study that collects information from women who use medications during their pregnancy.
  • If you are taking, or did take, a medication or a vaccine during your pregnancy, your experience can be very helpful to other pregnant women who may need to take it too.
  • Pregnant women can share their experiences with other pregnant women to help them have healthy pregnancies.

Here’s how:

  • Go to the FDA Pregnancy Registry website to see if the medication you are using (or used) has a pregnancy registry. If so, you can contact the registry and provide them with your information. This usually means filling out a questionnaire during your pregnancy and/or after your pregnancy.
  • It is just as important to report positive pregnancy outcomes (normal, healthy live births; improved medical conditions) as negative outcomes (complications; birth defects; side effects). We want to know if the drug worked and caused no problems as well as if the drug didn’t work or did cause problems.
  • The more women who participate, the more we learn about the safety and the effectiveness of the medications we may need to use to have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.

Give the gift:

You can provide the gift of your experience to other pregnant women. Together, we can vastly improve the information we need to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Kristine Shields
Dr. Kristine Shields is an Ob/Gyn Nurse Practitioner with a doctorate in Public Health. She is a women's health advocate dedicated to providing evidence-based information to pregnant and breastfeeding women and their health care providers so they can make informed treatment decisions.

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