What Medicines Can You Take When You’re Pregnant?

woman looking at medicineYou’re pregnant. Your back hurts. Your joints ache. Your stomach is upset. You may be ecstatic at the thought of having your baby, but physically you’re pretty close to miserable these days. Then you get a headache … or a cold … or the flu … or allergies. Do you have any hope for relief?

Although no drug can be considered 100% safe, there are several medications generally considered safe.

According to WebMD, “Generally, you should not take any over-the-counter medication while pregnant unless it is necessary.”

It is especially important to avoid medications during the first trimester, because that's when your developing baby is most susceptible.

But don’t despair! Although no drug can be considered 100% safe, there are several medications generally considered safe, so long as you do not exceed the recommended dosage.

Pain Relief:

Tylenol or Acetaminophen, when used properly, is considered safe. Many studies have occurred concerning acetaminophen, and birth defects, nor pregnancy complications, were cited. This includes Extra Strength Tylenol and Tylenol Gel-caps. However, avoid aspirin and ibuprofen, as these have been linked to miscarriages and birth defects.

Allergies:

Benadryl and Claritin, when used properly, are considered safe by most physicians. But most allergy medicines are off-limits, so be sure to check with your doctor before taking something.

Cold and Flu:

Most cold and flu medications contain harmful ingredients and you should check with your doctor on specific products. You may get the green light on products like Theraflu or Tylenol Cold and Sinus, depending on your needs and circumstances; but according to WebMD, the safest solutions are Tylenol, saline nasal drops/spray, or a warm salt water gargle.

Definitely avoid the decongestants pseudophedrine and phenylephrine. And also be aware that certain liquid cold medicines contain alcohol and can even have concentrations as high as 4.75%.

Constipation:

Colace and Metamucil, when used properly, are considered safe by most physicians.

Antacids:

Tagamet HB, Pepcid AC,  Zantac 75, and Tums, when used properly, are considered safe by most physicians.

First-aid Ointment:

Neosporin, Bacitracin, Polysporin, and J&J First-Aid Cream, when used properly, are considered safe.

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Vitamins and Supplements:

A prenatal vitamin is considered “safe and important to take,” but you should talk to your healthcare provider considering any other vitamins, herbal remedies, or supplements.

Remember that this is not a comprehensive list – and every woman, as well as every pregnancy, is different. As suggested on WebMD, “When in doubt about any medication, supplement, or therapy, ask your healthcare provider before taking or using it.”

What do you think?

What Medicines Can You Take When You’re Pregnant?

Tell us what you think!

18 comments

  1. Alison says:

    At my first doctor’s appointment after getting pregnant, they gave me a huge packet of information on pregnancy, and in there was a sheet containing a list of common pregnancy complaints and the best way to handle them. It was a super informative list, and it covered everything from aches to the flu to simple colds to headaches and so much more. Most of the information matched this list pretty well. And for the people commenting about prescriptions, those are on a case to case basis anyway. Your doctor wouldn’t give you a prescription while you were pregnant if they didn’t think it was safe.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Claitin has been a life saver for my allergies this summer!

  3. LIZ says:

    im gonna pass this article to my sister in law shes gonna love it tnx

  4. Alanna says:

    Very helpful. I always ask my OB before taking anything.

  5. Nandana says:

    Useful information!

  6. I have noticed that between pregnancies / over past 10yrs the med list has grown & change drastically! Somewhat controversial. In 2003 & 2009 I was not permitted to take ANY cold/flu meds & was told strictly to only use minimal doses of reg. Tylenol only when absolutely nec. Recently, I suffered with an ear ache & sinus migraines 2 1/2 months before asking the dr. what I could take if anything. Thankfully it was only fluid build up but she asked what meds I had been taking for it & looked confused that I had waited until discussing w/ her. She then recommended Sudafed, etc. which I cant take even when not pregnant due to racing my heart & feeling like I’m close to death. We came up with Benadryl that I could take but I am still confused on why so many variances in dr.’s vs. studies etc. on acceptable / safe medications. Who do you trust when you truly in need?

  7. Diana says:

    This article is very very helpful. Thanks.

  8. Emily says:

    What about prescriptions? I guess when in doubt just call the doctor.

  9. T.Ramsey says:

    Thanks! This helped a lot.

  10. Breanna says:

    my allergies are terrible and i can barely sleep because of them!

  11. Olivia says:

    The early part of my pregnancy I took tylenol.. but now my body hurts more than ever, I just wanna sleep through the pain

  12. Susan says:

    Seriously nauseated and vomiting! Given Zofran @ the hospital. Will it hurt me or the baby for me to take Emetrol, which is an over the counter med for nausea and vomiting?

    • MeganBrown says:

      I was given Zofran as well the last time I went to the hospital and now I have the generic version called Ondansetron (my doctor prescribed these to me) and I have only taken one of them because I am still fearful of what it can do to the baby. 🙁

  13. Gina says:

    Good information! Thanks!

  14. I took Tylenol for everything. I did not stray from that!

  15. Lindsey says:

    my allergies are so bad

  16. my allergies are seasonal, and those two options don’t really do anything for me

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