Date: February 2018, Version 3.0

Quick read

Scabies treatments can be used in pregnancy.

What is scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by a type of tiny insect or ‘mite’ that burrows into the skin causing intense itching which is worse at night. For more information, see the NHS A-Z leaflet Scabies

Pregnant women who need to use scabies treatment should ask their GP or pharmacist for advice. 

How is scabies treated during pregnancy?

Two different insecticides (chemicals that kill insects), permethrin (Lyclear® Dermal Cream) and malathion (Derbac® M Liquid, Prioderm® Lotion), are available in the UK for treating scabies. They work by poisoning the scabies mite. Permethrin is usually the first-choice treatment wherever possible.

Use of permethrin and malathion in pregnancy is not known to cause problems for the unborn baby, although very few pregnant women using these treatments have been studied. However, scabies is very contagious, unpleasant, and scratching the affected skin can lead to infections. The benefits of treatment are likely to outweigh any possible risks and treatment of scabies should not be delayed just because a woman is pregnant.

If a pregnant woman needs to apply scabies treatment to someone else, e.g. their child, they should follow the manufacturer’s instructions about use of gloves to avoid unnecessary exposure.  

Will my baby need extra monitoring during pregnancy?

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. Using treatments for scabies in pregnancy is not expected to cause problems that would require any extra monitoring.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has used scabies treatments?

We would not expect any increased risk to the baby if the father used scabies treatments before or around the time of conception.

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 healthcare 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.