Does poor fetal growth influence the extent of fetal exposure to maternal medications?

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A large proportion of women are prescribed a medication during pregnancy, and the conditions requiring treatment with these medicines are often also associated with placental dysfunction and abnormal fetal growth. For the fetus, exposure to maternal illness or medications can alter fetal growth trajectory, which is a key indicator of fetal and postnatal wellbeing. There is a large amount of human and animal evidence highlighting the hormonal and/or metabolic changes that occur in both the mother and the fetus as a result of maternal illness or either excessive or restricted fetal growth. These changes can affect the expression of drug metabolising enzymes and drug transporters in the both the mother and her fetus, and may ultimately alter fetal drug exposure. This review aims to explore the complex and multidirectional interplay between maternal illness, fetal growth trajectory, maternal drug treatment, and fetal drug exposure.

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