Pregnancy: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2022

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Describe the key stages of embryonic and fetal development and the risks that medicines may pose.
  • Outline strategies to reduce the risk of harm from medicines during pregnancy.
  • Help patients make informed decisions about using medicines during pregnancy.

You can download a PDF of this whole tutorial (without interactive elements such as the Learning exercises) and a one-page summary of key points.

You should allow 90 minutes to complete this tutorial, including the Learning exercises.


If you are a hospital trainee pharmacist, this tutorial may help you achieve GPhC learning outcomes such as these:

  • LO 2 Work in partnership with people to support and empower them in shared decision-making about their health and well-being
  • LO 5 Proactively support people to make safe and effective use of their medicines and devices
  • LO 12 Take an all-inclusive approach to ensure the most appropriate course of action based on clinical, legal and professional considerations
  • LO 16 Apply professional judgement in all circumstances, taking legal and ethical reasoning into account
  • LO 29 Apply the principles of clinical therapeutics, pharmacology and genomics to make effective use of medicines for people [including in their prescribing practice]
  • LO 30  Appraise the evidence base and apply clinical reasoning and professional judgement to make safe and logical decisions which minimise risk and optimise outcomes for the person

If you are a foundation pharmacist, this tutorial may assist with meeting certain competencies from the RPS framework including:

  • 1.1 Applies evidence-based clinical knowledge to make suitable recommendations or take appropriate actions 
  • 1.6 Uses own pharmaceutical knowledge to positively impact the usage and stewardship of medicines at an individual and population level.
  • 1.7 Undertakes a holistic clinical review of a person’s medicines to ensure they are appropriate.
  • 2.1 Keeps the individual at the centre of their approach to care at all times.
  • 3.1 Draws upon own knowledge and up-to-date guidance to effectively make decisions appropriately and with confidence.
  • 3.2 Critically appraises appropriate information to make a decision in an efficient and systematic manner; adopts evidence-informed solutions.
  • 3.3 Demonstrate awareness of where to seek appropriate information to solve problems and make decisions. 
  • 3.5 Manages uncertainty and possible risk appropriately, while ensuring high attention to detail is maintained when making decisions regarding the individual receiving care.
  • 6.5 Uses effective questioning when working with individuals receiving care or other healthcare professionals.

Continuing professional development

Finally, here are some CPD activities you could consider:

 ★  Shadowing your women's health pharmacist on their antenatal ward round(s). What are the most common medical reasons for hospital admission? What are the most frequently prescribed medicines?

 ★  Present a case of a commonly encountered acute medical problem seen in pregnancy (e.g. VTE, hypertension). Does the treatment differ compared to a non-pregnant patient? Does your Trust have guidelines on the subject?

★  Find out how pregnant women with chronic illness, such as epilepsy, are supported locally. Arrange to sit in on a clinic and speak to a patient about their experience of managing their health whilst pregnant. Have they had to make changes to their medication? How do they access information about medicines and their safety in pregnancy? Have they had to have extra tests/monitoring?