• Marie Otsuka

What medications are safe to take when you're pregnant?


When women get pregnant, there’s an extensive list of things that they have to avoid. But where does medication come into the picture? If you’re down with a cold, is it okay for you to get your standard OTC prescription, or do you have to nurse yourself back to health sans any sort of medicine or drugs? Read on to learn more.

If you’re having a headache:

Try: Natural remedies, Panadol

For pregnant women experiencing headaches or some other type of pain, your best bet is to stick with natural remedies such as drinking more water, having a hot bath, etc.

If you really need to take medication, most ob-gyns will recommend a mild painkiller, such as Panadol (Paracetamol). That said, do note that research from Harvard shows that consuming Paracetamol might lead to the birth of babies with lower IQs. So: only pop those painkillers when it’s really necessary.

If you’re having a cold:

Try: Natural remedies, Vicks Formula 44, Halls cough drops, Benadryl, Sudafed, Claratin, Robitussin DM

While there’s a pretty long list of cold medications that are deemed “safe” and non-harmful, one caveat is that these medications aren’t well-studied for use during pregnancy. Bearing this in mind, ob-gyns recommend that you first try natural remedies such as gargling using salt water, humidifying the air in your room, drinking lots of fluids. If these don’t do the trick, then turn to the above list of medications.

If you’re having some sort of infection:

Try: Penicillin antibiotics

Do you have to abstain from all antibiotics when you’re pregnant? No, that’s not the case. Generally speaking, the penicillin family of antibiotics is pretty safe for consumption, and there haven’t been any birth defects associated with this group of antibiotics.

On the other hand, steer clear of tetracycline and doxycycline antibiotics, which sometimes cause discoloration in babies' teeth.

If you’re having a yeast infection:

Try: Monistat, Gynelotrimin

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog post, yeast infections are the most common vaginal infection that women encounter during pregnancy. If you’re having a yeast infection, your ob-gyn is likely to prescribe Monistat or Gynelotrimin, both of which are safe for pregnant mothers. It’s Diflucan and Fluconzaole that you need to watch out for - studies show that taking extended doses may lead to a higher risk of birth defects.


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