Your pregnancy and baby guide

Medicines in pregnancy

Most medicines taken during pregnancy cross the placenta and reach the baby.

Before taking any medicine when you're pregnant, check with your pharmacist, midwife or GP that it is suitable.

When deciding whether to take a medicine during pregnancy, either prescribed by your doctor or available over the counter from the pharmacy, it's important to find out what is known about the possible effects of that medicine on your baby.

Which medicines are safe?

You can find out information on medicines in pregnancy on the bumps (best use of medicines in pregnancy) website. bumps also has advice on what to do if you have already taken a medicine in pregnancy.

However, it's also important to never stop taking a medicine that has 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 is important always to:

  • check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking any prescribed or over-the-counter medicine
  • make sure your doctor, dentist or other 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

If you can't find information about a specific medicine on bumps, you can ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist to contact the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS) for advice on your behalf.

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 are 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 are 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 can't 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

Can I take hay fever remedies in pregnancy?

Can I take malaria tablets in pregnancy?

Can I take paracetamol in pregancy?

Can I take ibuprofen in pregnancy?

Are complementary therapies safe in pregnancy?

Page last reviewed: 15/04/2016
Next review due: 31/01/2019