Medicines in pregnancy
Most medicines taken during pregnancy cross the placenta and reach the baby.
Before taking any medicine when you're pregnant, including painkillers, check with your pharmacist, midwife or GP that it's suitable.
When deciding whether to take a medicine during pregnancy, it's important to find out about the possible effects of that medicine on your baby.
This is the case both for medicines prescribed by a doctor and for medicines you buy from a pharmacy or shop.
Which medicines are safe?
You can find out information on medicines in pregnancy on the bumps (best use of medicines in pregnancy) website.
They also have advice on what to do if you have already taken a medicine in pregnancy.
But it's also important to never stop taking a medicine that's been prescribed to keep you healthy without first checking with your doctor.
Stopping taking your medicine could be harmful to both you and your baby.
If you're trying for a baby or are already pregnant, it's important to always:
- check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking any prescribed medicines or medicines that you have bought
- make sure your doctor, dentist or another healthcare professional knows you're pregnant before they prescribe anything or give you treatment
- talk to your doctor immediately if you take regular medicine, ideally before you start trying for a baby or as soon as you find out you're pregnant
Herbal and homeopathic remedies and aromatherapy in pregnancy
Not all "natural" remedies or complementary therapies are safe in pregnancy.
Some products used may not be of a high quality and may contain other substances, such as lead, that could be harmful.
Tell your midwife, doctor or pharmacist if you're using herbal, homeopathic or aromatherapy remedies or therapies.
If you do decide to use these therapies, you should always consult a qualified practitioner.
You should tell your practitioner that you're pregnant before discussing any treatment.
The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA) provides information on qualified or registered practitioners.
Organisations with PSA-accredited voluntary registers include:
Complementary remedies or therapies cannot replace conventional antenatal care.
It's important to go to all your regular antenatal check-ups throughout your pregnancy.
Common questions about medicines in pregnancy
Page last reviewed: 28 February 2019
Next review due: 28 February 2022