What medicines are safe to take in pregnancy?

Katie Hilton, midwife working with pushchair brand iCandy, discusses what medicines you can use during pregnancy

Some medicines, including some painkillers, could harm your baby during pregnancy. Other medicines are safe, such as common prescriptions used to treat conditions like asthma, over and underactive thyroids and diabetes. To be sure, always check with your doctor or midwife. Be sure to tell any health professional you are pregnant before they prescribe anything, and talk to your doctor immediately, ideally before you start trying for a baby, if you take regular medication.

Medicines that are usually safe in pregnancy include:
• Paracetamol
• Most antibiotics
• Local anaesthetics
• Most vaccinations

Should I avoid medications?
Ideally avoid taking medications during pregnancy if you can, particularly during the first three months. If you feel you do need to take medicines when you’re pregnant, talk to your doctor, midwife or pharmacist first. If you take any medicine while pregnant, you should use the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.

Can I take paracetamol or ibuprofen?
Paracetamol is safe to take as it has been routinely used during all stages of pregnancy with no evidence of any harmful side effects. However, avoid those that contain both paracetamol and caffeine. High levels of caffeine can result in low birth weight and potentially miscarriage. Ibuprofen should be avoided unless the potential benefit outweighs the risk, as it has been linked to a number of complications. Ibuprofen shouldn’t be used at all during the third trimester.

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