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Medicines during pregnancy

Medication sign

Many pregnant women are concerned about the safety of medications and their potential negative effect on their baby.

The effects of medications can vary, depending on the stage of pregnancy when the drug is taken. Some medicines can harm the developing baby and should be completely avoided. Others have been found to be safe during pregnancy. There are also medications that have not been tested on pregnant women, so the effects will be unknown.

The use of any medicine during pregnancy requires consideration of both the risks and benefits to you and your baby, so it is important to discuss with your midwife what you are taking or considering taking – whether the medication is prescribed, purchased ‘over the counter’ or is a natural or herbal therapy.

If you are already taking prescription medication

If you are already taking prescription medication, it is natural to have questions about what the effects would be on your baby and your own health – if you either continued taking or stopped taking your medication.

It is important to continue with your medication but let your GP and specialist know you are pregnant as soon as possible. They might recommend medication is continued, adjusted in terms of dosage, or changed for the duration of your pregnancy.

If you need medication while pregnant

If you need to see a doctor or other health professional, it is important to make sure they know you are pregnant so the appropriate and safest option can be prescribed.

It is the same with non-prescription medication, such as medication or natural remedies for a cold, cough, sore throat or headache. If you are considering purchasing these, let your pharmacist or other health professional know that you are pregnant before taking any ‘off the shelf’ medications.