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The future of medical research with pregnant women

Medical research is essentially the lifeblood of innovation. Without it, medical professionals likely do not learn more about what ails their patients or how to avoid certain conditions before they become problems. Indeed, medical research is important in combating various forms of cancer and learning how different drugs and treatments affect it. The same could be said about other non-fatal conditions such as depression and diabetes.

While such research is prominent among men, it is interesting to note how women have historically been excluded from such research, particularly pregnant women. According to a HuffingtonPost.com report, pregnant women have been overlooked out of a generalized fear that particular medications would negatively affect the unborn child residing in its mother’s womb.

 Additionally, the traditional notion of having pregnant women discontinue medications out of an abundance of caution for the fetus has also affected the number of pregnant women in clinical trials. This begs the question of whether pregnant women should continue to be excluded from medical research. After all, previous prohibitions were made because of the lack of information about certain drugs and their affects.

With additional information, and the benefits of informed consent processes, today’s women have much more access to materials that can help them in making decisions about their pregnancies and whether they would benefit from taking part in a research project.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen whether changes will be made to research projects to include pregnant women, especially given how chronic medical conditions are being treated through a woman’s pregnancy. 

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