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NHS website - Can I take anti-malaria medication if I'm trying for a baby?

Can I take anti-malaria medication if I'm trying for a baby?

If you're due to travel to a place where malaria is present, you should delay trying for a baby while you're taking anti-malaria medication.

This is because:

  • antimalarials can be harmful to developing babies if they're taken at the time of conception or for up to 3 months afterwards
  • pregnant women have an increased risk of developing severe malaria and a higher risk of dying from it compared with non-pregnant women
  • malaria infection in pregnancy could increase the risk of miscarriage or harm a developing baby

Women of childbearing age are advised to use contraception to avoid becoming pregnant in countries that have malaria.

With some anti-malaria medication, such as mefloquine, you should also make sure you don't get pregnant for at least 3 months after you've taken the last dose.

Speak to your GP for advice before you take any anti-malaria medication. You need to start taking some anti-malaria medicines before you travel, so seek advice well before your departure date.

What if I take anti-malaria medication then find out I'm pregnant?

If you find out you're pregnant within 3 months of taking anti-malaria medication, you should contact your GP as soon as possible for advice.

If you're abroad, you should get advice from a healthcare professional in the area where you're staying.  

Avoid mosquito bites

While you're travelling in countries that have malaria, taking the steps below will help you to avoid getting mosquito bites:

  • use a mosquito repellent on your skin and apply it often, following the manufacturer's instructions
  • cover your arms and legs by wearing long-sleeved tops and long trousers after sunset
  • use a spray or plug-in mosquito killer device in your room to kill any mosquitoes before you go to bed
  • sleep in a properly screened air-conditioned room or under a mosquito net that's been treated with insecticide – check there are no holes in the net

What if I'm already pregnant?

If you're pregnant, ideally you should not go to a place where malaria is present. If you have to travel, speak to your GP before taking any anti-malaria medication.

Some anti-malaria medicines are safe to take during pregnancy, but others should be avoided. For more information, see Can I take malaria tablets if I'm pregnant?

Read the answers to more questions about medicines.

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