You know to skip sushi and soft cheese when you're pregnant, but what about treating a headache or the flu? While some over-the-counter medications are safe to take during pregnancy, others aren't -- and it's important to find out how a drug might affect your growing baby. Here's what to know about 16 common conditions -- how to treat them without medication, what's safe to take and what to avoid -- so you can feel better fast.
Ask Your Doctor
Certain drugs can put your baby at risk during pregnancy, which is why it's key to talk to your doctor before taking any drug -- prescription or over-the-counter. "Women who are pregnant need to be cautious and always ask their doctor about medications they want to take," says Iffath Hoskins, M.D., chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. In particular, it's best to be overly cautious in the first trimester when organs are forming.
But try not to panic if you take something before you realized you shouldn't have. "What matters is the amount taken, the duration of the exposure and how far along the woman is," explains Lori Wolfe, a genetic counselor and past president of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), which reviews the safety of drugs during pregnancy. (In addition to safety info on their site, OTIS has a hotline for questions: 866/626-6847.) Taking one drug on a given day isn't nearly as dire as taking several different medications over the course of a week.