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Baby Hints & Tips

Medication in Pregnancy

Medication (including herbal medication and vitamins) in pregnancy should ALWAYS be checked a doctor and or pharmacist before taking.

  • The NPS medicineline is available Monday to Friday 9am-5pm EST. 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424)

medication in pregnancy 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

About the Author:

Tanya Burgess is a registered pharmacist and mother of 3 girls living in Western Australia. When she’s not wrangling her tribe or talking healthcare you’ll find her online at Baby Hints and Tips. This non-judgemental community is a hub for advice on all things pregnancy, baby, kids and parenting. Enjoy the support and fun at www.babyhintsandtips.com

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