The List of Don’ts and My Accutane Aversion

When you become pregnant, there’s a really long list of stuff you shouldn’t do, and a much longer list of stuff a lot of people think you shouldn’t do even though evidence is shaky.

In some cases the reason the evidence is shaky is because no sane pregnant woman wants to enter a 14 week study in which the primary goal is to find out if factor “x” causes miscarriage. Especially if that 14 week study involves riding a roller coaster for 8 hours a day or something similarly uncomfortable.

There are some things where studies have been done, but the evidence is inconclusive because doing certain things while pregnant suggests other harmful lifestyle factors.

You really just need to ask yourself how cautious (or overcautious) do you want to be?

Personally, I started answering this question when I was 16. I’m willing to be a little overcautious if I believe a risk is to great to my unborn child. I made this decision when I was faced with the choice of taking Accutane at sixteen.

Accutane is a drug most commonly used to treat acne in teenagers. It came onto the market in 1982 so by the time I was offered it in 2006 it was still pretty young, as drugs go. If you wanted to take accutane you would need blood work every six months to verify that your cholesterol and triglycerides hadn’t risen, because the drug was know for that. You were also warned incessantly that accutane caused birth defects when taken by pregnant women. Serious birth defects. Birth defects that caused damages to the brain, eyes, ears, and heart. At 16 I was not sexually active, but I knew I planned on having children via conception. After pouring through all of the information on accutane that was given me by my physician I found no evidence that studies had been done to ensure that women who had taken accutane produced healthy children post-accutane. And indeed, as most of the medicated persons were teenagers, how could they?

So I didn’t take accutane. In fact, I think the exact words I told my physician were “no way.”

I now take similar action to eliminate unnecessary risks.I’m not always consistent, but I’ve cut out things considered risks that I don’t really need. Like caffeine, alcohol, and hair dye. I’m sure I’ll be less paranoid when pregnancy#2 comes along, but for right now I’ll be playing it safe.

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