If a pregnant woman falls ill, it is important to know which medication is safe to take. In many cases, the patient information leaflet does not provide sufficient information to determine whether the medication is safe.
For most illnesses there is medication that has been adequately tested and found to be safe for use during pregnancy. Others must be avoided at all costs. There are also some that must be stopped for a certain period of time prior to conception. Health care professionals may need to change the treatment or will communicate with the hospital before birth to ensure the safety of mother and child.
Generally, it is recommended that during pregnancy medication should only be taken or stopped after consultation with a health care professional, even if it is available without prescription.
Medication found to be safe for use for common complaints during pregnancy
Heartburn and gastric upset
Antacids, e.g. magaldrate
Approved H2 blockers such as ranitidine
Paracetamol, in single doses with codeine
Ibuprofen, diclofenac (only up to week 28)
Tramadol if necessary
Sumatriptane for migraine
Meclozine (meclizine) Dimenhydrinate
Ideally, all vaccinations should be administered or freshened up before becoming pregnant. There are certain vaccinations that need to be administered even if the woman is already pregnant in order to ensure immunity against the disease. This applies in particular to tetanus, diphtheria, polio and the flu. Fortunately, none of these immunisations have been shown to be harmful to the baby.