Ask the Expert: Can I take medication as normal during pregnancy and while breastfeeding?
DO YOU need to ask a doctor or pharmacist about all the medication you take while pregnant and breastfeeding? Pharmacist Wendy Jones, author of Why Mothers' Medication Matters (Pinter & Martin, £7.99) says:
"After the tragedy of thalidomide in the 1960s, we've become more cautious about the use of any medicines in pregnancy, particularly the first 12 weeks, so it makes sense to check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking anything.
"One of the hardest things is nausea in the first months. There are drugs which can be prescribed to relieve symptoms without harming the baby.
"Antidepressants may also be continued if you're concerned about ongoing mental health.
"It's possible to treat most symptoms while you're breastfeeding without interrupting your baby's feeding. You can take most painkillers, antibiotics, hayfever remedies, and drugs to relieve tummy bugs as well as treat chronic conditions including eczema, depression, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma.
"Most packets contain advice to 'not use' while breastfeeding. This doesn't mean risk, but that you need to consult an expert.
"Try to avoid any drugs which cause drowsiness as they can make your baby sleep longer and miss feeds, so reduce your milk supply. Also avoid decongestant tablets and liquids as they can reduce supply even with one dose.
"If you're unsure, use an expert source or contact the Breastfeeding Network's Drugs in Breastmilk helpline service or via Facebook."