Hesperian Health Guides

Medicines: uses, dosage, and precautions for the medicines referred to in this book

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HealthWiki > A Book for Midwives > Medicines: uses, dosage, and precautions for the medicines referred to in this book


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Medicines are drugs that are used to help the body fight problems like bleeding, allergy, or infection. Some medicines reduce pain.

When we refer to medicines in this book, we usually mean both modern and traditional medicines, but this part of the book is mostly about the modern medicines that are used for women and babies during pregnancy, birth, and after birth.

Traditional medicines vary a lot from one place to another, so a remedy that is used in one place may not be available anywhere else. You can write down the local medicines that you use in the back of this section — and if you translate this book, be sure to include traditional medicines from your community.

WARNING!    Most of the time, pregnancy and birth are normal and safe and medicine is not needed. Most health problems are best treated by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating healthy foods. Medicines can be expensive and many have uncomfortable or dangerous side effects. Most medicines pass through the mother’s blood or breast milk to her baby. For all of these reasons, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using medicines unless they are truly needed.