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Taking medication when you’re pregnant

Check with your GP, midwife or a pharmacist before taking any medication.

Most medications can pass through your placenta (afterbirth) to your baby, so you need to make sure any medicine you take is safe for your baby.

Check before you stop taking prescribed medications


Do not suddenly stop taking any prescription medication you are on.

Make an appointment to see your GP to discuss if your medication needs to be changed. Ideally, you should speak to your GP before becoming pregnant. If this is not possible, talk to your GP as soon as you find out that you are pregnant.

Stopping medication suddenly, without getting advice from your GP, could be harmful for you or your baby.

Check before taking new medicines

Tell doctors, dentists and pharmacists that you are pregnant before accepting a prescription, an injection or a medication from them. Your pregnancy might seem obvious to you, but it might not to them.

Check it’s safe before taking:

  • prescribed medication
  • over the counter medication
  • herbal or homeopathic medication (these could contain substances that are harmful to you or your baby)
  • aromatherapy remedies

Make sure you go to all your antenatal care appointments with your GP and midwife, even if you are using complementary therapies.

Take folic acid


Take folic acid if you are pregnant or thinking of trying for a baby.

Folic acid helps your baby’s spine and brain to develop.

Talk to your GP if you have any of the following conditions as you may need a higher dose of folic acid:

  • epilepsy
  • a neural tube defect, for example spina bifida or hydrocephalus
  • type 1 or type 2 diabetes

You may also need a higher dose of folic acid if:

  • your family has a history of neural tube defects
  • the baby's biological father's family has a history of neural tube defects

Talk to your GP if you're overweight or obese or are on certain medications. For example, medicine for epilepsy, HIV or diabetes.

Page last reviewed: 27 April 2021
Next review due: 27 April 2024

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 8.