Medicine and drugs

Any drug may affect you or your baby, and that includes those you get on prescription, things you buy over the counter and some herbal remedies.

Prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medicines

You should tell your GP you’re pregnant if you’re being prescribed any medication, and also check with the pharmacist if it’s OK to take it when you’re pregnant. Check the label for yourself as well.

If you have a condition that means you take prescription drugs all the time, for example for epilepsy, talk to your GP or specialist when you are planning to get pregnant, or as soon as possible if the pregnancy was unplanned. You should not stop taking prescribed drugs without advice from your GP.

Illegal drugs

No recreational drugs are safe at any time and especially during pregnancy. Cocaine, crack, heroin, amphetamines and cannabis all affect your baby, directly or indirectly. Cocaine and crack are especially dangerous as they have an immediate effect on the baby’s blood supply. The effect of Ecstasy on a baby’s brain is not yet known. If you are addicted to drugs, help is available to support you. Some maternity units will provide special care or help if you need it. Your midwife, GP or antenatal clinic can put you in touch with specialist help. (See National Services).

If you feel that you cannot stop using any drug, help is available. Some maternity units have special addiction units. Being pregnant may be the extra encouragement you need to cope with giving up. Your midwife can put you in touch with support services, or speak to your family doctor.

Last Updated: 18 October 2016
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