Medicines Causing Birth Defects

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Expectant mothers want to do everything they can to make sure they give birth to a healthy baby, and trying to find out what drugs you can and can't take during pregnancy can be a minefield. Some prescription drugs and medicines are unsafe to take during pregnancy, and continuing to take them can cause the baby to suffer from birth defects or disabilities that will stay with them for life.

Medicines Causing Birth Defects

Risks of Using Certain Medicines and Drugs

Even medication that you have taken for a long time to treat long term conditions could put your baby at risk, and figuring out what is safe to take is made especially difficult when new studies are finding that everyday over-the-counter painkillers could be harmful.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have recently found that taking paracetamol during pregnancy could interrupt testosterone production, which can cause male babies to suffer reproductive problems in the future. However the lead researcher, Dr Rod Mitchell, said that women should continue to follow current guidance that advises paracetamol should be taken "at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time."

So What Can You Do To Minimise Risk?

The NHS guidelines recommend ways that you can make sure the medicines you are taking are safe for use during pregnancy;

  • Speak to your doctor as soon as you find out that you are pregnant or if you are planning to become pregnant
  • Speak to your doctor before taking any medicines and tablets
  • If your doctor wants to prescribe any treatments make sure they know you are pregnant
  • Try to minimise use of over the counter medicines


Babies are at a particular risk of developing a birth defect during the first trimester. At this stage, many women don't yet know they are pregnant, and could be taking harmful medication without realising the risks. Because of this, NHS guidelines also suggest speaking to your doctor if you are planning for a baby, so you can find out what medication is safe to take.

Getting Advice

Expectant mothers who have been extremely careful could still be at risk of unwittingly taking something harmful to their baby. It could be the case that your doctor has negligently given you medication that isn't safe without considering your pregnancy, or that you were mistakenly given the wrong medication and dosage advice.

Finding out that you have taken medication that could have harmed your baby can be devastating, and it can have lifelong repercussions for your newborn's health and your family's future. If you have been prescribed drugs that you think may be unsuitable to take during pregnancy, make sure you get a second opinion from a medical professional. Our medical negligence team can also help should you need to contact a solicitor for legal help and advice.


To find out how we could help you please make a no-obligation enquiry or call freephone: 0808 129 3320.




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