Will my medication affect my baby?

It depends on the type of medication. Some types of medication for mental health problems have risks for your baby if you take them when you are pregnant or when you are breastfeeding.

Woman lying on sofa looking concerned.

It is important to tell your doctor as soon as possible that you are pregnant so that your treatment can be discussed and considered with you.

Although some medication may have risks for your baby, if you stop medication suddenly you may become unwell very quickly so it is important to talk to your healthcare team first.

Your doctor should talk to you about:

  • the benefits and risks of carrying on with your current medication
  • the benefits and risks of switching to another medication that’s safer for pregnancy
  • the benefits and risks of switching to a ‘talking treatment’ (psychological therapy)
  • the possible effects of stopping or switching  your medication suddenly.

The type of mental health condition and severity will be a factor in these decisions. 

If you decide to take medication when you are pregnant or when you are breastfeeding, you should be offered the type with the least risk for you and your baby. You should be offered the lowest amount that will still work and should usually not take more than one type.

If you would like to stop medication when you are pregnant, but medication is the best treatment for your mental health problem, your doctor should talk to you about your reasons for wanting to stop medication and about the risks to you and your baby.

Other resources

Sources

  1. NICE (2014) Information for the public: Mental health in pregnancy and the year after giving birth. http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg192/resources/information-for-the-public-mental-health-in-pregnancy-and-the-year-after-giving-birth-pdf
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    Is it safe to take antidepressants in pregnancy?

    Some treatments for depression may carry risks during pregnancy for the baby. Your healthcare team should talk to you about your care and the risks and benefits of any treatment they will recommend.

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    Drugs and medicines in pregnancy

    To be on the safe side it's best to talk to a health professional before taking any new drugs or medicines during pregnancy in case they might have any effect on the growing baby.

Last reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.

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