Date: August 2023, Version 2.0

Quick read

Inhaled corticosteroids should be continued throughout pregnancy to ensure that breathing problems do not occur.

What are they?

Inhaled corticosteroids (including beclometasone, budesonide, ciclesonide, fluticasone, and mometasone) are used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


What are the benefits of using an inhaled corticosteroid in pregnancy?

Inhaled corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the lungs and prevent breathing problems. This is particularly important during pregnancy to keep both the woman and her baby safe.


What are the risks of using an inhaled corticosteroid in pregnancy?

There is no evidence that use of inhaled corticosteroids in pregnancy harms the baby.


Are there any alternatives to using an inhaled corticosteroid in pregnancy?

No. Inhaled corticosteroids are only prescribed when necessary and should be continued during pregnancy to ensure that asthma and other conditions that cause breathing problems are well-controlled.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take an inhaled corticosteroid during pregnancy?

It is important that asthma and other breathing problems are well-treated during pregnancy in order to keep both the woman and her baby well. Inhaled corticosteroids are safe to use, and a doctor will be happy to discuss any concerns.

Will I or my baby need extra monitoring?

As part of routine antenatal care in the UK, women are invited for a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to check the baby’s development. No further scans to check for birth defects will be required due to use of an inhaled corticosteroid. However, women with severe asthma might be offered closer monitoring during pregnancy.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has used an inhaled corticosteroid?

There is no evidence that inhaled corticosteroids used by the father can harm the baby through effects on the sperm.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

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

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.