Medicines and pregnancy

Medication might be needed also during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is important to treat the mother's diseases, since her well-being also benefits the foetus or the baby.

Almost all drugs used by a pregnant woman pass through the placenta and end up in the foetus. Only a few drugs are known to be harmful to foetal development. Treatment with medicines during pregnancy seeks to avoid drugs that are known to be harmful to the foetus and drugs whose risks to foetal development is not yet known well enough.

Always verify whether a drug is safe to use during pregnancy. This also applies to over-the-counter drugs and drugs that are used for a short time, such as drugs taken to alleviate fever or pain.

In long-term illnesses, medication during the entire duration of a pregnancy is a precondition for a successful pregnancy. Always verify the safety of the medication from your physician even before you are pregnant.

Many drugs pass into breast milk. An infant has not fully developed the ability to metabolise pharmaceutical substances. An infant might be exposed to dangerous levels of pharmaceutical substances through breast milk. That is why you must always verify the safety of a drug during breastfeeding.

The risks posed by so-called herbal supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding are not known well enough. That is why it is wise to avoid them.

Further information:

  • For more information about the use of drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding, please contact your maternity clinic, physician or pharmacy.
  • The Teratology Information Service offers information on drugs that have an adverse effect on fertility and foetal development, and medication during breastfeeding. The Teratology Information Service website contains information on the use of drugs during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The service also offers advice by phone (see the link below for more information).