A study to assess awareness amongst pregnant women about the effects of drugs on the fetus and self-medication
Keywords:Drug Safety, Foetus, Pregnancy, Self-medication
Background: The present study was conducted with an objective to assess the awareness of drug use in pregnancy, to assess the knowledge of pregnant women on effect of drugs on foetus and to assess the self-medication among pregnant women.
Methods: This was a prospective, observational, cross-sectional study conducted on randomly selected 200 pregnant women attending a tertiary care hospital in Surat, Gujarat, India. Data was collected by means of a pre-designed semi-structured questionnaire composed of 26 questions on self-medication during pregnancy and knowledge about that. The data was collected by interview technique in which each participant was asked questions in the language of her understanding in a separate room.
Results: The average age of the participants was 23.7±3.68 years. About 91% were not aware about the effect of medication on the health of foetus and did not even enquire about it. At the time of survey, 74% pregnant women were on some kind of medication. More than 80% were not aware about the duration of medication. About 51% were taking medication on regular basis. The proportion of self-medication among pregnant women was 8.5% (includes 5.5% by themselves and 3% by advice of chemists).
Conclusions: There is a lack of awareness amongst the pregnant women regarding the effect of the drugs on the health of foetus. More than half of the women take medication on regular basis. However, low proportion of self-medication during pregnancy suggests that during pregnancy women preferred to take advise of physician for medication rather than taking self-medication.
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