Assessment of YouTube videos as a source of information on medication use in pregnancy

Craig Hansen, Julia D. Interrante, Elizabeth C. Ailes, Meghan T. Frey, Cheryl S. Broussard, Valerie J. Godoshian, Courtney Lewis, Kara N.D. Polen, Amanda P. Garcia, Suzanne M. Gilboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background: When making decisions about medication use in pregnancy, women consult many information sources, including the Internet. The aim of this study was to assess the content of publicly accessible YouTube videos that discuss medication use in pregnancy. Methods: Using 2023 distinct combinations of search terms related to medications and pregnancy, we extracted metadata from YouTube videos using a YouTube video Application Programming Interface. Relevant videos were defined as those with a medication search term and a pregnancy-related search term in either the video title or description. We viewed relevant videos and abstracted content from each video into a database. We documented whether videos implied each medication to be "safe" or "unsafe" in pregnancy and compared that assessment with the medication's Teratogen Information System (TERIS) rating. Results: After viewing 651 videos, 314 videos with information about medication use in pregnancy were available for the final analyses. The majority of videos were from law firms (67%), television segments (10%), or physicians (8%). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were the most common medication class named (225 videos, 72%), and 88% of videos about SSRIs indicated that they were unsafe for use in pregnancy. However, the TERIS ratings for medication products in this class range from "unlikely" to "minimal" teratogenic risk. Conclusion: For the majority of medications, current YouTube video content does not adequately reflect what is known about the safety of their use in pregnancy and should be interpreted cautiously. However, YouTube could serve as a platform for communicating evidence-based medication safety information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 2016


  • Drug safety
  • Medications
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Social media
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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