Pregnancy-Safe Medications: How to Treat Colds, Flu, Headaches, Allergies and More

Under the weather? Here's what medications are safe to take in pregnancy -- so you can feel better fast (15 Photos)

Jennifer Kelly Geddes on Nov 16, 2012 at 7:37PM

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Colds and Flu

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a Jennifer Kelly Geddes on Nov 13, 2012 at 11:09AM

Coming down with a cold or flu is a bummer when you're not pregnant, but it's even more so when you are, since your favorite over-the-counter meds may be off-limits. Your best bet is prevention: Wash your hands frequently to avoid germs -- and get a flu shot, which is considered safe during any trimester.

How to treat it without medicine:
Fluids will keep you hydrated and may help loosen mucous, so think chicken soup and other clear broths, hot tea (stick with mostly decaf), water (either plain, with lemon or honey) and juice. "Try gargling some hot, salty water. It tastes terrible, but it'll coat the lining of the throat and may help a cough," says Dr. Hoskins. Also consider a humidifier to add moisture to the air and make breathing a little easier.

Pregnancy-safe medicines:
Meds with guaifenesin and/or dextromethorphan (Mucinex, Robitussen, Vicks 44 Cough Relief) are safe to take, as are cough drops and Vicks Vaporub. Avoid taking supplements such as Vitamin C and zinc without checking with your doctor first. "Remember, you're also taking a prenatal vitamin, so you could end up taking too much of a particular vitamin or mineral if you double up when treating a cold," explains Wolfe.

What to avoid: 
Skip cold remedies that contain alcohol, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and be careful with vitamin A. Sudafed can cause blood vessel constriction, which can be harmful to your baby and high doses of vitamin A can cause cranial/facial defects. And never take any leftover antibiotics in your medicine cabinet (most colds are viral anyway, not bacterial, so they won't help).

Discover 17 ways to feel better faster when you have a cold or flu during pregnancy.


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