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Haloperidol - Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
This fact sheet is for women who take haloperidol and are concerned about its effects during pregnancy
and breastfeeding. It does not include information about all the side effects and should be read in
addition to information provided with the product. It is very important that you speak to your doctor
before you decide to change or stop using haloperidol. For further advice regarding exposure to
haloperidol, your doctor may contact the Perinatal Psychotropic Medicines Information Service (PPMIS)
telephone line on (03) 8345 3190 on your behalf.
What is haloperidol?
Haloperidol is an antipsychotic medicine used for the treatment of psychosis, Tourette’s syndrome,
agitation, anxiety and disturbed behaviour. Should I stop taking haloperidol before becoming pregnant?
The decision to stop, start or to continue taking haloperidol must be made with your doctor after
discussing the possible risks and benefits of treatment choices in your individual
situation. Do not stop
taking haloperidol suddenly because you may experience withdrawal symptoms. The effect of withdrawal
symptoms on pregnancy is unknown. For this reason, if a decision to stop haloperidol before your
pregnancy is made, it is likely that your doctor will reduce your dose slowly until the lowest effective dose
for you have been reached.
Can taking haloperidol during pregnancy cause birth defects?
A birth defect is an abnormality that develops in the foetus during the first trimester. It is not reversible or
curable. All women carry a 3 to 5 percent risk of having a baby with a birth defect (that is, 3 to 5 births in
100). From the limited information available, babies exposed to haloperidol during pregnancy do not
appear to have an increased risk of birth defects 1. The decision to use haloperidol during pregnancy needs
to be made on an individual case by case basis after considering the risk and benefits to both you and your
Are there any concerns if I continue taking haloperidol during pregnancy?
Like other antipsychotics, the use of haloperidol during pregnancy had been associated with an increased
risk of gestational diabetes2. Your pregnancy progress should be monitored to prevent or manage this
complication and any other pregnancy related complications. It is important that you tell your obstetrician,
midwife and pharmacist that you are taking haloperidol.
Will my baby have withdrawal symptoms after the birth?
When haloperidol is used close to the time of delivery, there may be an increased risk of withdrawal
symptoms in your baby. Withdrawal symptoms may include shakiness, unusual tongue or limb movements,
and difficulty in feeding 3, 4. It is important that you tell your obstetrician, midwife and pharmacist that you
are taking haloperidol. Treatment of these withdrawal symptoms may range from support of your baby
with cuddles, to medicines that may help to control these symptoms 3, 4. Will taking haloperidol have any long term effects on my baby’s behaviour and development?
There is still not a lot of information on the long term effects of haloperidol on behaviour and development
in children whose mothers were taking haloperidol during pregnancy.
Can I breastfeed my baby if I continue taking Haloperidol?
Very small amounts of haloperidol are excreted into the breast milk 5-7. The decision to breastfeed your baby
whilst taking haloperidol needs to be considered on an individual case basis. It is important to discuss your
options with your doctor and if you choose to breastfeed while taking haloperidol then observe your baby
closely for side effects which may include, drowsiness, poor feeding and sleeping pattern changes.
If you have questions about the information on this fact sheet or other medicine exposures during pregnancy, cal the
Royal Women’s Hospital Medicines Information Service on (03) 8345 3190.
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