Safety of nicotine replacement therapy in pregnancy 'unclear'

Researchers call for better-quality studies to settle the matter

The evidence that maternal use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is safe for the fetus is insufficiently robust, although use of the products is likely to be safer than smoking, according to authors of a review.

Woman with nicotine patch on her arm

In their systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers believe they have, for the first time, brought together all the observational studies on the topic to be assessed alongside the randomised controlled trial (RCT) data.

But findings from the 23 observational studies included —