There’s very little research on whether medications are safe and effective in pregnant and lactating women, but an expert panel has ideas for how to close that information gap — and it’s calling on the federal government to take action in a new report that could stir change.

The sweeping report is the product of more than a year of public meetings by a task force formed by Congress in 2016 to study why so few women can get reliable answers on medication use while pregnant and lactating. More than 6 million women are pregnant in the U.S. each year, and it’s estimated that more than 90 percent take at least one medication while pregnant or lactating. But few drugs have been approved as safe and effective to use during pregnancy.

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  • Studying drug concentrations in breast milk could be done by acquiring milk from women who are stopping breastfeeding but still producing milk. Every lactating woman has a time when she’s not feeding her baby with the milk she produces. Why don’t drug companies pay these women to keep lactating?

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