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Pregnancy & Medication

How does medication affect your pregnancy?

Medicines can have harmful effects on the foetus at any time during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, you should minimise your use of medicines and herbal remedies that you can buy from the pharmacy. Some medicines are known to be safe (for example, penicillin), while some are known to be unsafe (for example, thalidomide). It is important for you to check with a healthcare professional before you take any medicine.

What precautions should you take?

  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medicine.
  • If you are on regular medication, (for example, for epilepsy), it is important that you discuss this with your doctor before becoming pregnant.
  • If you have an unplanned pregnancy, discuss any medicine that you are taking with your doctor as early as possible.

What medications are commonly prescribed during pregnancy?

Problem Type of medicine
Pain relief, headache, backache or fever
  • Paracetamol
  • Fibre supplements
  • Laxatives

(Try to increase fibre intake and fluid intake as much as possible).

Haemorrhoids/varicose veins
  • Diosmine, hesperidine
Cough or cold
  • Guaifenesin plus dextromethorphan
  • Diphenhydramine
Allergic relief
  • Chlorpheniramine (may cause drowsiness)
  • Decongestants are best avoided in the early stages of pregnancy.

(Avoid decongestant sprays, as they can damage nasal passages if used frequently).

Indigestion, gaseous distension , upset stomach
  • Antacids for acid indigestion or heartburn
  • Simethicone for gaseous distention.


Last reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Nyaros bt. Abdullah
Reviewer : Norhayati bt. Yaacob