Date: October 2022, Version 4

Quick read

Baclofen use may occasionally be advised in pregnancy if it is needed to control severe muscle spasms.

What is it?

Baclofen (Lyflex®, Lioresal®) is a medicine used to treat severe muscle tightness and muscle spasms caused by an underlying brain condition. Baclofen can be given by mouth or intrathecally (into the fluid-filled space around the spinal cord).


What are the benefits of taking baclofen in pregnancy?

Baclofen use may be advised to control pain and improve problems with mobility and day-to-day function that are caused by severe muscle spasms. In these cases, the benefits to both woman and baby of ensuring the woman remains well are likely to outweigh any possible risks.


Are there any risks of taking baclofen during pregnancy?

Baclofen use in pregnancy has been studied in only around 150 women. Although the available information does not suggest it harms the baby in the womb, much more information needs to be collected to confirm this.

Baclofen given intrathecally is thought to reach the baby in very small amounts that are unlikely to cause harm.

Baclofen taken by mouth can potentially cause short-term withdrawal symptoms in the newborn baby if taken in the weeks before delivery. For this reason, a baby may be monitored for some time after birth to check for symptoms such as jitteriness, difficulty sleeping and breathing problems.


Are there any alternatives to taking baclofen?

Possibly. There may be other medications that can be used depending on the specific circumstances. When a particular medicine is being offered, a doctor will be able to explain why it is the best choice.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take baclofen during pregnancy?

Reduced mobility and chronic pain can greatly affect quality of life. Baclofen will only be offered in pregnancy if the benefits of use outweigh the possible risks. A doctor or specialist will be happy to discuss this.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

In the UK, all women will be offered a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of their routine antenatal care. No additional monitoring of the baby is required due to use of baclofen. However, closer monitoring may be offered to women with some of the underlying health conditions that baclofen is used to treat.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father takes baclofen?

We would not expect any increased risk to the baby if the father took baclofen around the time of conception.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the information in this leaflet, please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system (MyBump Portal) allows women who are currently pregnant to create a secure record of their pregnancy, collected through a series of questionnaires. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, your pregnancy outcome and your child's development. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit the MyBump Portal to register.

General information
Sadly, miscarriage and birth defects can occur in any pregnancy.

Miscarriage occurs in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies, and 1 in every 40 babies are born with a birth defect. This is called the ‘background risk’ and happens whether medication is taken or not.

Most medicines cross the placenta and reach the baby. For many medications this is not a problem. However, some medicines can affect a baby’s growth and development.

If you take regular medication and are planning to conceive, you should discuss whether your medicine is safe to continue with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant. If you have an unplanned pregnancy while taking a medicine, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please make sure that the person prescribing it knows that you are pregnant. If you have any concerns about a medicine, you can check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist.

Our Bumps information leaflets provide information about the effects of medicines in pregnancy so that you can decide, together with your healthcare provider, what is best for you and your baby.