Coumadin and Pregnancy
Studies on pregnancy and Coumadin show that the medication can cause a number of problems in a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Some of these problems may include miscarriage, stillbirth, and birth defects. Due to these potential risks, pregnant women should avoid taking this anticoagulant drug. If you become pregnant while taking Coumadin, contact your healthcare provider.
Coumadin® (warfarin sodium) is a prescription anticoagulant used to prevent and treat blood clots. This medication should not be taken during pregnancy, as several different problems could occur.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category X is given to medicines that show problems to the fetus in animal studies or in humans.
Coumadin has been shown to cause several different problems during pregnancy, such as:
- Birth defects
- Mental retardation
- Brain or spinal problems
- Excessive bleeding (in both the fetus and the mother).
The risks appear to be greatest when Coumadin is taken early in pregnancy (weeks six through nine), although exposure at any time during pregnancy can lead to devastating outcomes.
Because of the high likelihood of problems, pregnant women (or even women who could become pregnant) should not take Coumadin. If you are a woman of childbearing potential, adequate birth control is necessary. Using two forms of birth control would be a good idea.
Some pregnant women will require anticoagulation due to various reasons, such as a clotting disorder. In these cases, an alternative medication should be used. Heparin or other similar injectable anticoagulants are usually given. Unlike Coumadin, these medications do not cross the placenta to the developing fetus.