Safe Medications During Pregnancy

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant or are already expecting, you may know that you need to avoid certain medications and substances during pregnancy. For example, all pregnant women are advised to stop drinking alcohol, using tobacco or illicit drugs to protect their babies and reduce the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and others. 

However, other over-the-counter and prescription medications may not be safe for your developing baby. 

Please note that this article is just for information, and you should always talk to your obstetrician before taking or changing any medications, vitamins, or supplements. Your healthcare provider can provide customized advice to help you and your baby stay healthy

Young asian woman seated checking the ingredients of her medications. - Maiden Lane Medical | New York, NY

What are the safe medications during pregnancy?

Your obstetrician at Maiden Lane Medical can provide advice on which prescription and over-the-counter medicines you can continue to take as well as those that you should stop taking or replace. 

For example, some anti-depressants are associated with a higher risk of birth defects or other complications. Additionally, if you have diabetes, you may need to adjust your insulin and diet to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. You may also need to talk to your doctor about alternative treatments to manage high blood pressure.

Additionally, you may want to talk to your doctor about the safest medications to take for common pregnancy symptoms, such as heartburn, gas pains, constipation, nausea, and other digestive upsets. Many indigestion medicines are safe, including Gaviscon®, Pepcid AC®, Maalox®, and Tums®. You might also want to consider Pepto Bismol®, Mylanta gas®, Gas X®, Metamucil®, or MiraLax®.

What pain relievers can I take while pregnant?

Your body changes significantly during pregnancy, which can cause some discomfort or headaches. The safest medicine to take for pain relief while you’re expecting is acetaminophen (Tylenol®). Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®) may increase the risk of fetal kidney problems or bleeding during delivery if taken during the final trimester.

What cold medications are safe during pregnancy?

Try your best to avoid colds and the flu while pregnant. However, if you happen to pick up a bug or have seasonal allergies, you can take a variety of safe medicines to manage your symptoms, including:

  • Robitussin®
  • Mucinex®
  • Sudafed® (after the first trimester)
  • Benadryl®
  • Claritin®
  • Zyrtec®

Stay away from any medication marked PM, as they have higher alcohol content, which affects pregnancy. You can also use saline nasal drops and sprays, Vick Vapor Rub®, and warm salt water gargles. In addition, you can use hydrocortisone creams and oatmeal baths for rashes and skin irritations.

What medications can a pregnant woman take for COVID-19?

If you happen to contract COVID-19 while pregnant, make an appointment to talk to your obstetrician about how to maintain a healthy pregnancy and what medications you can take during pregnancy. 

You may be able to take some over-the-counter drugs to manage fevers, chills, and body aches. Fluticasone, propionate, and other anti-allergy medication may help reduce congestion or a runny nose. Make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and wash your hands frequently.

Contact your obstetrician at Maiden Lane Medical for advice if you have any questions about pregnancy-safe medications. They can explain the potential risk and adverse effects of different medications at the various stages of pregnancy. 

For example, some medicines should be avoided during the first trimester, while others are safe early in pregnancy but not in the third trimester. In many cases, there is insufficient data about substances that haven’t been adequately studied. In some cases, you may be better off avoiding questionable medicine and any related harmful effects.

Medically Reviewed By

Jill-Ann Swenson, MD, FACOG
Board Certified OB/GYN

Expert Medical Services

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