Medication and natural health products

Information to which special attention should be paidIf you are pregnant or want to get pregnant and you take prescription or over-the-counter medication or natural health products, talk to your health professional. You can ask whether you should continue, stop, or change what you are taking.

Care should be exercised when considering taking any prescription or over-the-counter medication or natural health product during pregnancy. Some may be ineffective, dangerous during pregnancy, or harmful for your baby, while others may be necessary for you and our baby’s health.

If you have questions about prescription or over‑the‑counter medication or natural health products, talk to a pharmacist, a doctor, or your prenatal care provider.

Prescription medication

You want to get pregnant

If you want to get pregnant and are taking medication for a specific condition such as anxiety, epilepsy, hypertension, hypothyroidism, depression, asthma, or diabetes, talk to your doctor. Your medication may need to be adjusted.

You are pregnant

Essential information to rememberIt is very important not to stop treatment without consulting a professional. This could cause complications for you and your baby.

If you get pregnant and are taking medication, talk to a doctor or pharmacists right away to find out whether you should continue, change your medication, or stop your treatment.

If you get sick during pregnancy, it’s good to know that most illnesses can be treated even while you’re pregnant. Don’t hesitate to talk to your health professional. Medication suitable for your situation may be prescribed.

Over-the-counter medication

Some over-the-counter medications can sometime be taken for short periods during pregnancy. Others may cause complications. Talk to a pharmacist or other health professional before using over-the-counter medication. They can:

  • Suggest ways you can minimize discomfort without medication
  • Give advice on what kinds of over-the counter medication you can use during pregnancy
  • Check whether the over-the-counter medication can be used with the products you are already taking
  • Explain how to use the medication

Natural health products

Essential information to rememberAsk a pharmacist or other health professional before using natural health products.

Be just as careful with natural health products (plants, essential oils, supplements, vitamins, and minerals) as with conventional medication. Some of these products, or their ingredients, may be dangerous during pregnancy. What’s more, their effects during pregnancy are not always well known, and their exact contents are not always clearly indicated on the packaging.

Plants used for cooking, like parsley, basil, and garlic, are generally harmless. But when sold as natural health products in the form of capsules, tablets, tinctures, extracts, or essential oils, they can be more concentrated than when they are used in food. This may present risks for the pregnancy.

Some teas and herbal teas may also represent a risk during pregnancy. For suggestions on herbal teas you can use while pregnant, see Herbal teas.