Medicines are drugs that are used to help the body fight problems
like bleeding, allergy, or infection. Some medicines reduce pain.
When we refer to medicines in this book, we usually mean both
modern and traditional medicines, but this part of the book is
mostly about the modern medicines that are used for women and
babies during pregnancy, birth, and after birth.
Traditional medicines vary a lot from one place to another, so a remedy that is
used in one place may not be available anywhere else. You can write down the
local medicines that you use in the back of this section — and if you translate this
book, be sure to include traditional medicines from your community.
WARNING! Most of the time, pregnancy and birth are normal
and safe and medicine is not needed. Most health problems
are best treated by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and
eating healthy foods. Medicines can be expensive and many
have uncomfortable or dangerous side effects. Most medicines
pass through the mother’s blood or breast milk to her baby.
For all of these reasons, pregnant and breastfeeding women
should avoid using medicines unless they are truly needed.
When to use medicines
Only use a medicine when you know what is causing a problem and you are sure
the medicine will help that problem. See page 13 to decide the cause and find the
best treatment for a problem.
Before giving a medicine to a woman, ask yourself these questions:
• Will she get better without this medicine?
• Is there a home remedy or traditional medicine that will work as well or better?
• Are the benefits of using this medicine greater than the cost and the risks?
A Book for Midwives (2010)