Nation-wide information about medication use in pregnancy is lacking for Italy, and no study has so far investigated the prescribed medications which pregnant women deliberately avoid. In this study, we map medication use patterns in pregnancy, as well as the extent and type of prescribed medications which are purposely avoided by pregnant women in Italy. This is a sub-study within the “Multinational Medication Use in Pregnancy Study”—a cross-sectional, web-based study conducted in Italy from 7 November 2011 to 7 January 2012. Using an anonymous electronic questionnaire, we collected data from pregnant women and new mothers on medication use and deliberate avoidance during pregnancy and maternal characteristics. The sample included 926 women residing in Italy. The point prevalence of total medication use was 71.2%. Whereas 61.4% and 12.4% of women reported medication use for the treatment of short and longer-term illnesses, respectively, only 8.8% reported medication use for the treatment of both a short and a longer-term illness in pregnancy. We found no substantial differences in estimates across various geographical areas of Italy. Overall, 26.6% of women reported to have deliberately avoided a prescribed medication in pregnancy—most often nimesulide or ketoprofen, but also antibiotics. We conclude that prenatal exposure to medication is common among women in Italy, but estimates are lower than in other Western countries. Intentional avoidance of important medications by pregnant women raises concerns about the safeguarding of maternal–child health.
This item's license is: Attribution 4.0 International