Why can’t you answer my pregnancy questions?

In some cases, no evidence is available to answer your question. In others, some knowledge may be available but it’s limited. Little research has been done involving pregnant women.

Infections, medicines and pregnancy

Research has shown that some infections during pregnancy can be harmful to the unborn baby, such as rubella and toxoplasmosis. However, there are many aspects of health during pregnancy where research has not been done. For example, whether it’s safe to take some medicines during pregnancy.

If there is no evidence or knowledge is limited, this does not necessarily mean that an infection or medicine is harmful. It means that there is no evidence to prove whether it’s harmful or not.

See the links below for more information: 

Is it safe to… ?

Pregnant women usually have lots of questions, sometimes about their lifestyle, as well as their health. For example, pregnant women often ask if it’s safe to:

There are answers for some of these questions, although the knowledge may be limited. For others, research has not been done, so no evidence is available.

Medical research

All medical research in the UK is strictly regulated and must be approved by a recognised ethics committee.

Pregnant women are specifically excluded from many research trials, in case of harmful effects on the unborn baby. It is unethical to carry out research during pregnancy, to prove whether an infection or medicine is harmful to the unborn baby.

Read about clinical trials and medical research for more information.

Unanswered pregnancy questions

A UK database has been set up to publish questions that existing research evidence can’t currently answer. It’s called the Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETs).

The main aim of DUETs is to help decide which of the unanswered questions are most important.

The categories in DUETs include pregnancy and childbirth. Some examples of the issues currently included in this category include:

  • whether it’s safe to take antidepressants during pregnancy
  • what treatments can be used for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
  • the effects of taking anti-epileptic drugs during pregnancy

Read the answers to more questions about pregnancy.

Further information:

 

Media last reviewed: 11/03/2013

Next review due: 11/03/2015

Page last reviewed: 24/04/2013

Next review due: 23/04/2015