More than three-quarters of women will take at least one medication during their pregnancy. Yet data on the safety and effectiveness of various medications used during pregnancy are lacking because pregnant women are routinely excluded from clinical trials to avoid potential harm to developing fetuses. Dr. Anick Bérard, Canada Research Chair in Medications and Pregnancy, is trying to address this knowledge gap.
She and her research team are using artificial intelligence (AI) strategies as well as data gathered by the Canadian and American health-care systems from real-life diagnoses, hospitalizations and medication use to quantify the risks of using antidepressants and migraine treatments during pregnancy. They are also using AI models to study the mental health impact of pandemics, such as COVID-19, on pregnant women. Their research will spark leadership in the study of drugs used during pregnancy and help women and their doctors make more informed decisions.