Date: January 2023, Version 4.0

Quick read

Antispasmodics are occasionally used in pregnancy if they are needed to control diverticular disease or IBS.

What are they?

Antispasmodics (mebeverine hydrochloride [Colofac®, Colofac IBS®, Aurobeverine®], alverine citrate [Audmonal®, Spasmonal®], and peppermint oil [Colpermin®, Colomint®, Buscomint®, Mintec®, PepperMinn®) are used to treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Alverine citrate is also used in the treatment of another bowel problem called diverticular disease, and for period pain cramps.


What are the benefits of using an antispasmodic in pregnancy?

Antispasmodics can reduce the symptoms of IBS and diverticular disease, and therefore improve overall health and quality of life. It is important that long-term diarrhoea in pregnancy is well-managed as it can affect the level of some important vitamins and minerals.


What are the risks of using an antispasmodic in pregnancy?

There is very little information on women taking antispasmodics in pregnancy so it unclear if they are safe for the baby.


Are there any alternatives to using an antispasmodic in pregnancy?

Possibly. Lifestyle changes and other medicines can help with IBS but are not suitable for everyone. It is important that diverticular disease and severe IBS are well-controlled, so staying on an antispasmodic may be recommended for some women.

Women who are taking an antispasmodic and planning a pregnancy should speak to their doctor or specialist to make sure that it is ok to continue. No changes to medication should be made unless recommended by a doctor.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take medicines during pregnancy?

It is important for the woman’s health and wellbeing that IBS or diverticular disease remain as well-controlled as possible. A doctor will only prescribe medicines when necessary and will be happy to discuss any concerns.

Will I or my baby need extra monitoring?

As part of routine antenatal care, most women will be offered a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy to check the baby’s development. No extra monitoring for major birth defects is required following use of an antispasmodic.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has taken an antispasmodic ?

There is no evidence that an antispasmodic 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

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.