Date: November 2020, Version 3

What is it?

Metoprolol is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and some heart problems.


What are the benefits of taking metoprolol in pregnancy?

Metoprolol reduces the risk from high blood pressure and some heart problems. This is important as these conditions can get worse during pregnancy and may lead to complications.

Some women will be taking metoprolol before pregnancy; if so, it should be continued but reviewed at the earliest opportunity by your midwife, GP, cardiologist, or obstetrician.


Are there any risks of taking metoprolol in pregnancy?

A small number of pregnant women specifically taking metoprolol have been studied, with no concerns raised that its use causes birth defects or preterm birth. Metoprolol belongs to a family of medicines called beta blockers. Studies have also not shown that beta blockers cause birth defects, stillbirth or preterm birth. Women taking beta blockers may be more likely to have a small baby. However, a small baby can be due to underlying health conditions that beta blockers are commonly used to treat, like high blood pressure. It is therefore difficult to know if a beta blocker has also contributed to the baby being small.

Occasionally, beta blockers used in late pregnancy can affect the baby for a short while after birth (for example, causing low blood sugar). The baby may require an extra day or two in hospital following birth to look out for any problems. If these occur, they can be easily treated and usually settle quickly.


Are there any alternatives to taking metoprolol?

Possibly. Other medicines can be used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems. You should let your midwife, GP and/or obstetrician know that you are taking metoprolol so that it can be reviewed as soon as possible. If you have any questions about a medicine that you are offered in pregnancy you should discuss them with your doctor or midwife.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take medicines in pregnancy?

It is very important to take any medicines prescribed for high blood pressure or heart problems. High blood pressure in pregnancy can lead to a condition called pre-eclampsia, which can be serious. Heart problems can also be dangerous to both mother and baby and must be as well-controlled as possible.

Your doctor will only prescribe medicines when absolutely necessary and will be happy to talk to you about any concerns that you might have.

Please do not stop metoprolol without speaking to your midwife, GP, cardiologist or obstetrician.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

You will be offered a detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of your routine antenatal care. If you continue metoprolol then you may be offered additional scans at around 32 and 36 weeks to check that your baby is growing normally.

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

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

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.