When you’re pregnant you need to take extra care with medicines.
Most medicines will cross over from your bloodstream to your baby, including:
Make sure your GP, dentist, pharmacist or other healthcare professional knows you’re pregnant before they prescribe anything or give you treatment. It’s always best to check before you take any kind of medicine.
Not all pregnancies are planned. Some women will already be taking medication when they find out they’re pregnant.
If this happens to you, don’t stop taking medications without checking with your GP.
Stopping important medicines suddenly could harm both you and your baby. Speak to your GP before you stop taking any prescribed medications.
Some medicines are safe to take when you’re pregnant, while others can be harmful for your developing baby, including some common medicines.
Before you take anything – or stop taking anything – it’s important to get the right advice. You can ask your midwife, pharmacist or GP. You should get advice about each medicine you take.
Your GP or obstetrician will help you decide what to take and how much to take, to keep you and your baby as safe as possible during pregnancy.
If you’re already taking any medicine, tell your GP you’re pregnant as soon as possible. Together you can decide whether you still need the medicine and, if you do, your GP can make sure you’re taking the smallest amount for the shortest time.
Speak to your GP, obstetrician or a drug support service if you’re regularly taking these types of prescribed medicines:
If you have epilepsy and you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or think you might be pregnant:
You may need to change the medicines you take, or the amount you take, so that it’s safe for your baby. Stopping your medication suddenly could be harmful for you both.
Sodium valproate (Epilim®/Epilim chrono®) and Valproic acid (Convulex®) have been linked to a higher chance of some babies having:
They’re prescribed for epilepsy, but you could also be taking them for:
If you’re taking either medicine, your doctor will talk to you about the possible benefits and harms and together you can decide what to do.
The MHRA has guidance on valproate use by women and girls
Your pharmacy is a great place to go for help and advice about medicines without the need for an appointment.
Your pharmacist can:
Anyone registered with a GP in Scotland can access the NHS Pharmacy First Scotland service.
Even though something’s ‘natural’, doesn’t mean that it’s safe to use in pregnancy. There are some herbal remedies and complementary medicines that you shouldn’t take.
Be sure to tell your midwife, pharmacist or GP if you’re using:
You should also get their advice before you use or take anything new.
If you’re using complementary therapies, it’s still important to go to your antenatal check-ups.
If you decide to use herbal or complementary therapy:
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2 November 2023