Date: August 2022, Version 2

Quick read

Zopiclone is occasionally used in pregnancy if other methods have failed to treat a severe sleeping problem.

What is it?

Zopiclone (Zimovane®) is a type of sleeping tablet called a hypnotic that is sometimes prescribed for short periods of time to treat severe sleeping problems (insomnia).


What are the benefits of taking zopiclone in pregnancy?

Zopiclone helps with sleeping problems and can therefore greatly improve wellbeing and quality of life. Zopiclone may occasionally be offered in pregnancy if other methods to improve sleep have not worked.


What are the risks of taking zopiclone in pregnancy?

There is no strong evidence to show that zopiclone used in early pregnancy causes birth defects in the baby.

Some studies have shown that pregnant women taking zopiclone and similar drugs have a higher chance of premature delivery and a baby with a low birth weight. However, it is unclear if these were direct effects of zopiclone or due to other factors that are more common in women taking this medicine.

Zopiclone can cause short-term withdrawal symptoms in the newborn baby if taken in the weeks before delivery. For this reason, a baby may be monitored for some time after birth to check for symptoms such as jitteriness, difficulty sleeping and breathing problems.


Are there any alternatives to taking zopiclone in pregnancy?

Yes, usually. Sleep problems can sometimes be improved using non-drug methods and there are also alternative types of medication that might help. Women planning a pregnancy or who become pregnant while taking zopiclone should discuss their treatment with a doctor.

No treatment

What if I prefer not to take zopiclone in pregnancy?

Your doctor will help you explore other options to help with sleeping. Medicines will only be prescribed during pregnancy when necessary and a doctor will be happy to talk about any concerns.

Will I or my baby need extra monitoring?

In the UK, all women will be offered a very detailed scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of their routine antenatal care. No additional monitoring of the baby is required due to use of zopiclone.

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

There is no evidence that zopiclone 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 about 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.