Pregnant women are susceptible to the same types of colds and viral infections as anyone else, although their symptoms may be a little more severe. Fortunately, most viruses do not cause any adverse effects on the baby. Most medications do not make the illness resolve faster but can help to keep you more comfortable. It is best to try comfort measures first, such as rest, fluids, warm baths and showers, and pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol). No medication can be guaranteed as “absolutely safe” during pregnancy but there has now been extensive experience with certain over-the-counter medications that are felt to be safe if your symptoms are severe. In general, herbal supplements have not been studied in pregnancy and should be avoided.
The following medications may be taken according to directions on the product labeling:
Allergies – loratidine (Claritin or Claritin-D). See medications listed under Congestion
Congestion – Sudafed, Actifed, Chlortrimeton, Tylenol Cold, Afrin Nasal Spray, saline nasal spray
Constipation – docusate (Colace) stool softener, any fiber product, milk of magnesia. Increase fluids, exercise, and natural fiber in your diet
Cough – any cough syrup with guaifenesin or dextromethorphan
Fever – acetaminophen regular (Tylenol) or extra strength. Be sure to keep your temperature below 101 degrees and drink plenty of fluids. Call the office if you are unable to do this
Headaches – acetaminophen regular (Tylenol) or extra strength.
NO ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve unless you’ve checked with your doctor
Heartburn – any antacid tablet or liquid such as Tums, Rolaids, Maalox, Mylanta, Pepcid or Zantac
Hemorrhoids – Anusol, Preparation-H, Tucks, Corticaine
Nausea from pregnancy – Unisom, Vitamin-B6 25-50mg three times a day
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea from stomach flu – Kaopectate, Imodium AD. Drink small, frequent amounts of clear liquids such as water, soda, tea, clear broth and clear fruit juices. Avoid dairy products for several days
Rash/itching – Benadryl 25-50mg every 4-6 hours. Calamine or Aveeno products, 1% hydrocortisone cream
Sore throat – throat lozenges, zinc lozenges, Chloraseptic spray
Vaginal yeast infection – any over the counter product
It is important to continue treatment for certain illnesses like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, mental illness and seizures while you are pregnant. However, sometimes it is best to change your prescription medication and it may not be safe to abruptly stop a medication. Therefore, it is important that your doctor knows about any medication you are taking as soon as you know you are pregnant.
Medications commonly prescribed by other physicians that are safe to take during pregnancy include antibiotics such as amoxicillin, penicillin, erythromycin, Zithromax, and Keflex. Dental x-rays should be done only if necessary and the abdomen must be covered with a lead apron. Do not use nitrous oxide or take tetracycline.