In an ideal world the process of having children, from conception to breastfeeding, for all women would be drug-free because we can never be 100% sure that the drug will be harmless to the developing child.
In pregnant women with arthritis however, certain drugs are important to have a successful outcome to prevent disease flares which may cause harm to the baby. These web pages provide a summary of what we know about the effects of these drugs during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
This summary is based on guidelines produced by the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR). In some cases there's only limited information available, but we do know that, for most drugs, many pregnant or breastfeeding women will take them without any problems.
We strongly recommend that you discuss each drug you take with your doctor - either when you're planning a family or as soon as possible if you unexpectedly become pregnant.
See the list of drugs below to find out how each one affects pregnancy.
Paracetamol, NSAIDs and pregnancy
Most women can take the usual dose of paracetamol, even during pregnancy. NSAIDs are sometimes used, but your doctor will probably advise you to stop them after 32 weeks. Read more
Biological therapies and pregnancy
Current guidelines advise that most biological therapies can be used for at least part of your pregnancy, but you should discuss this with your healthcare team.
DMARDs and pregnancy
Some disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) are considered safe to use if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, but others may be harmful and must be stopped. Read more
Steroids are often used in pregnancy. There’s no evidence that steroids harm your baby and they're often given if labour begins before 34 weeks to help the baby's lungs mature. Read more