Some pills, medicines and treatments aren’t good for pregnant women, babies and young children. To be on the safe side, always tell the pharmacist or doctor who the drugs are for – and check whether they’re suitable.
Medicines from your doctor
Doctors prescribe you medicines to prevent you from getting ill, or to make you feel better. But if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant, make sure that your doctor knows before writing you a prescription.
If you’re taking regular medication and you get pregnant, tell your doctor as soon as you can. Don’t stop taking pills or medicines without asking for advice – it’s safer to take drugs for diabetes, for example, than to stop the treatment.
When the doctor prescribes something for your child, find out what the side effects are. Drugs could make your child sleepy or irritable, so it’s good to be well prepared. Make sure that you know how often to give the medicine to your child – and how much.
If you think your child is reacting badly to a medicine, for example with a rash or diarrhoea, stop giving it and tell your doctor. Keep a note of the name of the medicine so that you can tell your doctor in the future. If you want to talk to someone, you can also call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 (in England and Wales) or NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 (in Scotland).
Medicines from the pharmacist
If you’re buying pills or a medicine without a prescription, always tell the pharmacist who the medicine is for – particularly if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if the treatment is for a child.
Can I take aspirin if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
See your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking aspirin if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. You should never give aspirin to a child under the age of 16.
Dos and Don’ts
- Do: keep all medicines out of your children’s reach – and preferably out of sight.
- Do: follow the instructions on the bottle or packaging. Never take a smaller or larger dose of a medicine than the recommended dose – this can be very dangerous.
- Do: talk to your doctor or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 (in England and Wales) or NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 (in Scotland) if you think your child is ill.
- Don’t: take medicines that are for someone else or give them to a child.
- Don’t: stop prescribed medicines before you have finished the course unless your doctor or midwife tells you to. A course of antibiotics, for example, usually lasts at least five days.
Some herbal remedies and other natural treatments may not be good for you or your baby’s health if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Some herbs can even cause a miscarriage – including some that may be in massage oils. Check with your health visitor, midwife or pharmacist before you use any herbal remedies, treatments or oils bought over the counter. And if you go to a therapist, make sure that they know that you’re pregnant.
Illegal drugs can harm your baby – so if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor or midwife so that they can help you become drug free. You can also get confidential advice from FRANK (0800 77 66 00 or Talk to FRANK).
For more information:
NHS Choices (England)