Are medications in pregnancy safe when you have gestational diabetes?

So you are thinking of having a baby, or perhaps you are already pregnant...CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Having diabetes and being pregnant or breastfeeding can be challenging, especially when taking medications. But it is very possible to have a normal pregnancy and a lovely normal happy baby. To make this easier it is really important you know the facts and work closely with your medical team.

This is most definitely the time when you will want to make sure you are doing all the right things to ensure the best outcome for your baby. If possible, it is best to plan ahead and make some simple changes to your diet, aim to stop smoking, try to stop drinking alcohol and improve blood sugar control are really important.

However, the medications you are currently taking need to be assessed by your doctor as they may not be suitable to take during pregnancy and could actually be dangerous. Most medications have never been tested in pregnancy and as a result why would you want to take something which could harm your developing baby or perhaps cause harm once the child is born...

If you are taking tablets to control your diabetes you will want to make sure that it is still safe to do so, especially as pregnancy is an important time to keep blood sugars in check. You may also be taking medications for other reasons such as cholesterol or blood pressure. If you have discovered that you are pregnant it is advisable to STOP taking these and see a doctor as soon as possible to ensure they are ok to take in pregnancy.

What can you do

The following information may be helpful in planning your pregnancy, but remember to always check with your doctor.

Diabetes medications

Nearly all oral medications for diabetes must not be taken during pregnancy and be stopped as are not safe for your developing baby.

There is only one type, Metformin (also called Diabex, Glucophage, Glumetza or Fortamet) that is considered safe with ‘no risk in human pregnancy’ by the FDA (Food and Drug Association). There is now enough evidence as a result of clinical trials to indicate that Metformin does not worsen outcomes either during pregnancy or at birth and can actually be beneficial in helping regulate blood sugar control and weight gain. Improved blood sugar levels and being at a healthy weight can be really important in becoming pregnant in the first place, so it is well worth discussing this option with your doctor.

If you are taking insulin then good news, as it is definitely safe to continue using during pregnancy... however some types have not been subject to randomised clinical trials, so it is important to check with your doctor. Other injectables for diabetes such as Liraglutide or Bydureon are not considered safe and must be stopped before pregnancy.

Blood Pressure Medications

Many of these are not safe but there are options that are considered suitable in pregnancy so discuss with your doctor and make sure you are on the right type.


Cholesterol Lowering Agents

These are generally not considered safe in pregnancy and need to be stopped when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Other Medications:

There are many other types of medications you may be taking but the important thing to remember is that these may not be safe and can cause harm during pregnancy or when breastfeeding and should not be taken until you have talked with your doctor.

Planning ahead and having your blood sugars under control and blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check is really important.

Please see the following articles for more information: