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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Medicines in pregnancy

Taking medicines while pregnant can affect your baby. If you need to take any medicine while pregnant, first ask your GP, midwife, LMC or pharmacist.

If you're already taking medicine for a health condition, do not stop it until you've discussed this with your GP. If you take medicine for a long-term health condition, talk about this with your GP or specialist before becoming pregnant. This is especially important if you have epilepsy, diabetes or a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. This means your medicine can be adjusted if necessary.

Pain relief

It's safe to take paracetamol when you're pregnant. The adult dose of paracetamol is two 500 mg tablets up to four times a day. But you should only take paracetamol if you really need it. If you need to take paracetamol regularly for pain, talk to your midwife or GP as the pain may need to be investigated. You shouldn't take ibuprofen (Nurofen) while you're pregnant.

Always ask your pharmacist or GP before taking any pain relief if you aren't sure if its safe.

Stronger pain relief

Long-term use of opioids such as codeine or morphine when you're pregnant can cause problems for your baby. Your baby can become tolerant to these medications and may go into withdrawal when they're born. It's important to tell your LMC if you're taking this type of medication.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2021.

See also:

Illegal drugs in pregnancy

Medicines, alcohol, drugs, & breastfeeding

Page reference: 65582

Review key: HIHCP-311277