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Some drugs can have adverse effects on both the mother and the baby during pregnancy and breast feeding. Therefore, it is important that extra care is taken when prescribing in pregnancy and in new mothers who are breastfeeding. Special care should also be taken in women of childbearing age who are taking drugs known to be teratogenic.
Information on pregnancy testing and contraception for pregnancy prevention during treatment with medicines of teratogenic potential is available from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency)
The following general resources offer information about medicine safety in pregnancy and breast feeding.
The website has information for healthcare professionals, and details of a telephone information service available to healthcare professionals. Summaries of monographs for individual drugs are freely available on the website. Access to the full monograph is available by registering a department or practice – see website for further details.
The website has information for patients, and freely available patient information leaflets for individual drugs. Information is based on material produced by UKTIS.
This service, which is run by the Specialist Pharmacy Service, has information on the use of drugs in breastfeeding patients. The website has general principles for medicine use during breastfeeding, advice on the best option for different clinical areas and the monitoring which may be required. There are also contact details for the advisory service.
Identifies drugs which are known to be harmful in pregnancy, including the trimester of risk, and drugs which are not known to be harmful during pregnancy. The BNF also includes information on prescribing in breastfeeding.
SPC (Summary of Product Characteristics)
The SPCs for individual drugs include the manufacturer's recommendations on the use of the medicine during pregnancy and breast feeding. SPCs for medicines which are licensed for use in the UK can be accessed through the Electronic Medicines Compendium (emc) or the MHRA. Please note the SPCs for some products are not available through the emc.
The website has guidance on the use of medicines in pregnancy and breastfeeding for healthcare professionals and patients. Details of pregnancy prevention programmes are given for drugs such as valproate, oral retinoid medicines, and mycophenolate.
Adverse drug reactions in pregnant patients should also be reported using the MHRA's yellow card scheme.
Healthcare professionals are asked to report important inconsistencies in UK advice on the use of individual or classes of medicines in pregnancy or breastfeeding to firstname.lastname@example.org – the address for the Safer Medicines and Information in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Consortium
Last updated: 19-02-2020
Home > Formulary > Chapters > 7. Obstetrics, gynaecology, and urinary-tract disorders > Resources for: contraception for drugs with teratogenic potential, and prescribing in pregnancy and lactation