Medication (including herbal medication and vitamins) in pregnancy should ALWAYS be checked a doctor and or pharmacist before taking.
- Health Direct Australia hotline is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on 1800 022 222
Classification of Medication
Most medicines cross the placenta and have the potential to cause harm to a developing foetus or unborn child. Drug classifications help your health professional know which drugs are safe to take, which need to be considered carefully, and which need to be avoided. This is not information that should be considered without talking to your doctor and or pharmacist.
The system has taken into account the known harmful effects of medicines on the developing baby, including the potential to cause:
- birth defects
- unwanted pharmacological effects around the time of birth, which may or may not be reversible
- problems in later life
You can find information about the specific categories here, always remember this needs to be considered in discussion with a health professional.
May I take it?
Painkillers in pregnancy
- Paracetamol (safe) Category A – be careful to take as per instructions and don’t take more than maximum dose
- Avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatories without talking to a doctor
Cough and cold in pregnancy
- Check with a pharmacist
- Saline nasal spray is a good safe option
Heartburn or reflux in pregnancy
- Antacids (safe) Category A eg Mylanta. Discuss with your pharmacist or doctor before taking
- If antacids don’t work there are other options that are considered safe.
- Other parents reflux tips
Constipation in pregnancy
- First option is dietary and lifestyle changes where possible
- Bulking agents eg Metamucil® (safe) Category A
- Stimulant laxatives eg Senna should be avoided.
- Other options are available discuss with your doctor or pharmacist
Haemorrhoids in pregnancy
- These are often the result of constipation so firstly treat the constipation
- Some products are considered safe in pregnancy talk to your pharmacist to get accurate advice on how to use the products and how long to use them for. Avoid Rectogesic®.
Diarrhoea in pregnancy
- Most important thing is to stay hydrated, if you are concerned see a doctor immediately
- Oral rehydration solution (safe) Category A
Reference: Australian Medicines Handbook 2013