Posted by ABC News on Tuesday, March 17, 2019 07:24:10In the midst of a nationwide “trending trend” to reduce or even eliminate pregnant women’s need for painkillers, the Food and Drug Administration is now recommending that chefs and restaurant workers avoid giving pregnant women a painful or potentially life-threatening painkiller.
While some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurateurs have already said they will be putting the pressure on their servers to avoid giving birth in the kitchen, the agency said Tuesday that it is now proposing that restaurants and restaurant staffs give pregnant women “a variety of alternatives to painkillers.”
“Pregnant women should not have to choose between painkillers and their pain,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
“We’ve seen an increase in prescriptions for pain medications over the past two years and we’re seeing an increase among pregnant women as well.”
Gottlieb noted that “pain medications are the most commonly prescribed medications for pregnant women,” and said that they “are the most likely to cause side effects.”
“We have been very clear that pain medications are a critical component of a healthy pregnancy and are associated with a lower likelihood of the birth of a baby,” he said.
Gottiebs comments are the latest in a series of policy changes the agency has made over the last year to protect pregnant women.
In January, the FDA said that doctors could not give pregnant patients painkillers to relieve their symptoms if they were experiencing labor or delivery, and that women should have an abortion if their pain medication was prescribed by a physician.
The agency also issued a new rule in February that would require restaurants to allow pregnant women to order their food and drink at a counter.
But it also said that pregnant women can now bring their own containers to use with their food.
“The new policy will be implemented in a phased fashion and will apply to all establishments, including restaurants,” Gottliebs said.
“In the meantime, pregnant women who are unable to order food or drink at the counter may be able to bring in a glass of water and take it to a table,” he added.
“There are many, many things we want to see implemented that we don’t have the resources to do at this point in time,” Gottiebs added.
Gothamist recently reported that the FDA has approved a total of about 4,300 new painkiller prescriptions for pregnant patients in the past 12 months, including the painkiller oxycodone and fentanyl.
The FDA has issued a total number of 4,400 more opioid prescriptions for women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.