Safe Relief

November 10, 2008 12:00 AM

Q: I recently had a root canal. I probably got pregnant during the next week, based on how far along I am, but I didn’t know it then, so I took three Vicodin on three separate days to help with the pain. Could this have caused harm to my baby?

A: You’re in the clear. Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen or Tylenol and a drug called hydrocodone. Tylenol is considered safe throughout pregnancy in normal adult doses, and the dosage of Tylenol in Vicodin falls within that normal range. Hydrocodone is a mild narcotic that isn’t harmful to the baby in the amount and duration used for dental pain.

Now that you know you’re pregnant, check the safety of drugs you regularly take with your care provider. For more medication information, go to www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginformation.html.

Drip, Drop

Q: I’m only 22 weeks, and I’ve just noticed fluid drops on my nipples. Is it breast milk? And is it going to leak more and more as I go along?

A: Pregnancy hormones prepare the breasts for lactation well before you begin to nurse your baby. Even in the first few weeks, you may notice enlargement and tenderness of the breasts; for some women it’s this soreness that prompts them to take a pregnancy test.

Later the areola will darken and enlarge. And after 20 weeks some women will begin to leak fluid from their breasts. This is most often colostrum, a white or yellow pre-milk that more commonly starts with delivery, but is also perfectly normal during pregnancy.

The leakage may increase slightly as your pregnancy progresses, but it’s not likely to go away until you finish breastfeeding. If you’re concerned about it showing through your clothes, pick up some of the soft pads that nursing moms insert into their bras to protect their clothing.

If the fluid is bloody or you find a hard lump, let your doctor know; it can be normal, but you may need tests.

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