Date: May 2020, Version 2

What is it?

Methyldopa (Aldomet®) is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) in pregnancy.


What are the benefits of taking methyldopa in pregnancy?

Methyldopa can prevent the complications caused by hypertension (high blood pressure) in pregnancy, and a related condition called pre-eclampsia. These complications include preterm birth, low birth weight in the baby, and illness in both the mother and baby which is sometimes serious.


Are there any risks of taking methyldopa during pregnancy?

Use of methyldopa in pregnancy is common and is unlikely to cause any harm. Most pregnant women taking methyldopa will start treatment after the first trimester when the baby is fully developed. This will therefore not cause structural birth defects in the baby. Even if you have taken methyldopa in the first trimester, there is no good evidence that this is linked to birth defects. There are also no known links with miscarriage or stillbirth and no evidence that methyldopa causes preterm birth or low infant birth weight.


Are there any alternatives to taking methyldopa?

Possibly. Other medicines can also be used to treat hypertension in pregnancy and pre-eclampsia. However, if your doctor has suggested that you take methyldopa, this will be based on a number of factors including how you have responded to other high blood pressure medicines and whether you have experienced any side effects. If you have any questions about a medicine that you are offered in pregnancy, you should discuss them with your doctor or midwife.

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What if I prefer not to take medicines to treat hypertension or pre-eclampsia?

It is very important to take any medicines prescribed for hypertension or pre-eclampsia as both of these conditions can be serious for both mother and baby. Your doctor will only prescribe medicines when absolutely necessary and will be happy to talk to you about any concerns that you might have.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

All pregnant women in the UK should be offered a detailed anomaly scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of their routine antenatal care. No extra monitoring for major birth defects is required following methyldopa use in pregnancy.

In general, women with high blood pressure will be more closely monitored during pregnancy to ensure that they remain well throughout and that their baby is growing as expected.

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

We would not expect any increased risk to your baby if the father takes methyldopa.

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.