Publication Date



School of Health Sciences


Biology: Biomedical Sciences


pregnancy, drug exposure


Medical Biochemistry | Medical Pathology | Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Pediatrics


Prenatal drug exposure is a common clinical phenomenon in pregnancy cases. Pregnancy is a fragile period of time for both the mother and the fetus. Therefore, strict drug regulation is important to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the developing fetus. Certain drugs, once thought to be safe, have been found to have detrimental effects on the normal development of functioning organ systems in the fetus. Current research has identified drugs that when taken during pregnancy can result in the onset of fetal physical abnormalities, impaired brain development, and disrupted organogenesis and organ function. Thalidomide, losartan, opioids, alcohol, and caffeine are reviewed to identify the trends in the literature on prenatal drug exposure and the implications of drug usage during pregnancy. Although the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) are active in regulation, educational programs for pregnant/lactating women and epidemiological research on both prescribed and over-the-counter drugs on the fetus is necessary to preserve maternal health and, consequently, the health of the baby.