Thursday, September 21, 2023

Can Pregnant Women Take Cold And Flu Medicine

Must read

Getting Flu While You’re Pregnant

Should pregnant women get flu shots?

When you’re pregnant, your body’s immune system is naturally weaker. This means you’re more vulnerable to developing complications. Catching flu while you’re pregnant can also seriously affect your baby.

For this reason, NHS advice is that all pregnant women should receive the flu jab. The flu jab doesn’t offer 100 percent protection from the flu as it’s designed to protect you and your baby against certain strains, but it greatly reduces your risk of catching it. If you catch a strain of flu that the vaccination doesn’t protect you against, it should still shorten the length and severity of your illness.

Studies have shown that the flu jab is safe at all stages of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. Speak to your GP about getting the free flu jab, as they should be able to provide it. You can also check if your local pharmacist offers the free flu vaccination, or if your midwife can provide it.

Medicines That Are Safe For Pregnant Women To Take When Sick

  • Obstetrics
  • Medicines That Are Safe for Pregnant Women to Take When Sick

When you are pregnant, your immune system doesnt operate at maximum capacity, which is actually a good thing because it keeps your growing baby protected, and stops your body from thinking the fetus is an intruder. However, this comes with the downside that your body cant ward off the viruses that cause the common cold quite as effectively. This can leave you vulnerable to the symptoms that come along, including a congested nose, cough, and sore throat.

As we move into cold and flu season, you may find yourself coming down with a cold, and while you can rest assured that your baby isnt experiencing any of them, you want to get rid of the symptoms quickly and safely. While colds are mostly an uncomfortable annoyance best managed by a little extra rest, fluids, and patience, you may find yourself seeking out cold medications to alleviate your symptoms. We recommend making a so they can steer you in the right direction in terms of cold medications that are considered safe during pregnancy. Here are our own recommendations on what to do if you get sick while pregnant.

Does My Cough Or Cold Affect My Baby

Having a normal head cold, whilst making you feel miserable, should not affect your baby.

“As long as you’ve got the normal symptoms of a cold and you’re not feeling out of breath or light-headed, or you’ve not got a headache or blurry vision and are able to eat and drink its fine,” says Dr Ellie.

“It’s only when you’re having a very high temperature or you’re feeling unwell, unable to get out of bed, or your breathing is distressed and you cant keep food or fluid down, that you should see your doctor or midwife.”

The NHS says you should start to feel better within one to two weeks.

Recommended Reading: Target Minute Clinic Flu Shot

What Happens If A Pregnant Woman Gets The Flu

In pregnancy, there are changes in the immune system, heart, and lung function that make pregnant women more prone to severe illness from the flu, which can lead to hospitalization, or even death, she says, adding that other complications as a result of the flu include dehydration, miscarriage, and preterm labor.

Herbs For Cold & Flu Safe During Pregnancy

Booklet: What Cough Medicine Can You Take While Pregnant

Before you take flu and cold medicine while pregnant, use the following list of safe herbs to help cure what ails you.

The following list contains herbs that are safe both in preconception and pregnancy. If you are in this phase of your life, it is good to keep these herbs on hand for making teas or tinctures.


The root and/or flower and leaves of this plant are specialists at combatting infection. Note: Echinacea is best taken when there is a problem rather than as a preventative, especially when trying to conceive or when pregnant.


The berry of this shrub is made into syrups, teas, jellies, and even wine. They have been clinically proven to be effective against many strains of the flu. Elder will shorten the time of illness and reduce the severity of symptoms.


You May Like: Stronger Flu Shots For Seniors

What Can You Do To Feel Better If You Get A Cold During Pregnancy

Although many of the medications that relieve cold symptoms are typically off-limits during pregnancy, you dont have to suffer with a runny nose and hacking cough when youre pregnant. Some of the most effective cold remedies dont come from the pharmacy shelf. Here’s how to feel better faster:

What to Expect selects products based on independent research and suggestions from our community of millions of parents learn more about our review process. We may earn commissions from shopping links.

A Word About Antibiotics

So many patients call asking for antibiotics for a cold,usually when theyve had symptoms for several days. There are a few times whenantibiotics are appropriate, for instance, strep throat or sinus infectionscaused by bacteria. But antibiotics simply dont work against viruses thatcause the common cold. Overprescribing antibiotics for viral illnesses leads toantibiotic resistance, which means the bacteria grow stronger over time andbecome tougher to beat with antibiotics.If a doctor prescribes an antibiotic for cold symptoms, its usually a short,three-day round of drugs. The patient often feels better after finishing themedication but probably would have recovered in that timeframe anyway withoutthe drug.

Also Check: When Is Flu Season In The United States

How To Treat Your Cold And Flu While Pregnant

Having the cold and flu while pregnant is the worst. What medications can you safely take?

You know that unpasteurized brie is a no-go during pregnancy, and those double martinis and oysters on the half shell are strictly verboten. But what about cold and flu medications? When you inevitably come down with a hacking cough, myriad aches and pains, and a serious case of the sniffles, what can you take? Here, our guide to navigating cold and flu season with a baby on board.

Get the vaccine

YOURE PREGNANT!Sign up to get weekly email updates on your baby »Influenzaa severe respiratory illness that causes fever, cough and congestionis not something to be trifled with. As Laura Magee, an obstetrician and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia, says, women who are pregnant and have the flu are at an increased risk of serious complications. And that list of potential repercussions includes pneumonia, kidney failure, swelling of the brain, premature labour and even death. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of Canadians becomes infected with influenza each year, causing upwards of 12,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths.

The good news is the vaccine is safe throughout pregnancy. Be sure, however, to request the injection, which is made from an inactivated virus, and not the nasal-spray vaccine, as thats made from a live virus and not recommended for use by pregnant women.

Read more:

Is Honey Safe During Pregnancy

Can Echinacea help with Cold and Flus during pregnancy?

Yes, its safe to eat honey during pregnancy. While its not safe to give honey to babies under a year old, eating honey when youre pregnant wont harm you or your unborn child. Thats because your grown-up stomach can handle the bacteria in honey that sometimes makes babies sick with a rare illness called botulism.

Also Check: How Much Is A Flu Shot At Hy Vee

Sneezing Runny Nose And Watery Eyes

These symptoms are the result of histamine release, which isan immune response to an invading virus. Chlorpheniramine, such as TriaminicAllergy, and diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl, are safe to take duringpregnancy. However, both can cause drowsiness, so these are best taken atbedtime. The maximum dosage for chlorpheniramine is 32 mg in 24 hours.

When compared to placebos, antihistamines have the most successful resultswithin the first couple days of treatment. Patients didnt report any relief ofsymptoms between days three and 10. Newer antihistamines, such as loratadine, are approved for allergies, not colds, so there isnt informationabout how well they work for cold symptoms.

Medications To Avoid During Pregnancy

Always check with your doctor or OBGYN before taking any medications prescription, over-the-counter, or homeopathic particularly the following.

  • Pain relievers and fever reducers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen can cause pregnancy complications, particularly if taken during the third trimester.
  • Avoid non-steroidal nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline.
  • Dont take supplemental vitamins or herbal remedies without medical approval.

Recommended Reading: Can You Take Medicine For The Flu

Which Medicines Are Safe

You can find out information on medicines in pregnancy on the bumps website.

They also have advice on what to do if you have already taken a medicine in pregnancy.

But it’s also important to never stop taking a medicine that’s been prescribed to keep you healthy without first checking with your doctor.

Stopping taking your medicine could be harmful to both you and your baby.

If you’re trying for a baby or are already pregnant, it’s important to always:

  • check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking any prescribed medicines or medicines that you have bought
  • make sure your doctor, dentist or another healthcare professional knows you’re pregnant before they prescribe anything or give you treatment
  • talk to your doctor immediately if you take regular medicine, ideally before you start trying for a baby or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant

If you cannot find information about a specific medicine on bumps, you can ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist to contact the UK Teratology Information Service for advice on your behalf.

What Medications Can I Take For A Cold During Pregnancy

Cough drops, cold meds: Whats safe to take while pregnant ...

Even if youve tried your best to avoid it, you may catch a cold while youre pregnant. Taking over-the-counter medications can be risky for mother and baby, so youll need to read labels to ensure that cold medicines are safe for the both of you. Those shelves full of cold and flu medications can be intimidating and overwhelming, and especially so when youre pregnant.

Youll likely want to hone in on a single medication to treat your main symptom, such as a stuffy nose or sinus pain. Otherwise, you may take more medicine than you actually intended, and there is further concern about medication interactions during pregnancy.

You will always want to check with your OB-GYN or physician before taking any medicines in pregnancy. Here are some general guidelines for pregnancy-friendly medication.

Pain Relievers

If your cold or flu is accompanied by painful aches and fevers, reach for acetaminophen . Doctors recommend avoiding nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, however.


These are medications that help to loosen and get rid of the phlegm that comes with a cold, Read the labels for confirmation, but if it a medicine contains guaifenesin, it can thin and loosen mucus in the airways, clear congestion, make breathing easier, and not be contraindicated in pregnancy.

Cough Suppressants

There are also natural ways to ease those uncomfortable symptoms, including:


Warm Tea

Vitamin C

Doctors say vitamin C is safe for pregnant women, but dont overdo it.

Read Also: Will Getting Two Flu Shots Hurt You

Safe Medications For Pregnant Women

Your obstetrician from Genesee Valley OB/GYN will review any medications you are currently taking to decide what is safe to continue taking during pregnancy. Some medications and herbal supplements can increase your chance of birth defects, and your doctor will review any medication you may need to stop taking if youre pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, allergy medicine, and cold medicines are generally safe to take, while aspirin and ibuprofen should be avoided.

How Can I Tell If It’s A Cold Or Flu

With a cold, you will have:

  • a sore throat

  • a blocked or runny nose,

  • sneezing and a cough

You might also experience a mild fever or a headache, although these symptoms are not as common.

As a general rule, the flu comes on faster. It causes:

  • a higher fever

  • sweating

  • leaves you feeling exhausted

“Flu can be very serious in pregnancy and that’s why it’s important if youre pregnant and youve got a high temperature or a cough that’s not going away or youre feeling generally unwell that you see your midwife or doctor,” says Dr Ellie.

“Its also why pregnant women are included in the groups of individuals eligible to get the flu vaccine and are recommended to get it every year.”

Its best to avoid all medications in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After that, here’s what you can and can’t take.


  • A low dose of paracetamol, only for as long as needed

To avoid:

  • Aspirin

  • Cold cure tablets/drink sachets

“If you do have a temperature, you can take paracetamol,” says Gill Adgie, regional head of Royal College of Midwives. “This is safe for pregnant women to take and will help reduce your fever.” The NHS advises using paracetamol at the lowest effective dose, for the shortest possible time.

“You should avoid antihistamines, ibuprofen and aspirin during pregnancy,” says Boots flu pharmacist Deepa Songara.

If your problems do persist, give your GP a ring to see if you should book an appointment to get checked over.

You May Like: Does Medicare Pay For Flu Shots At Walmart

Pregnancy And Otc Cough Cold And Analgesic Preparations

Benefits Versus RisksIn the United States, about 150,000 babies are born each year with birth defects.7 Birth defects can occur due to many nonpharmacologic factors. Some of the most common defects are spina bifida, microtia, hypoplastic left heart, cleft palate, cleft lip, esophageal atresia, anencephaly, omphalocele, and limb reduction.7 Practitioners must weigh the benefits versus the risks when recommending OTC analgesics and cough and cold preparations to pregnant women. Since ailments treated with OTC and herbal products in pregnant women are not usually life-threatening, practitioners should also consider suggesting nonpharmacologic remedies, such as rest and fluids.This article presents information on some common OTC analgesic and cough and cold preparations available. Each section discusses the product, pregnancy category, information regarding safety data in pregnancy, dosing, side effects, and contraindications. The comparison of risks and benefits must be considered for each individual patient. Information relating to when patients should refer to a physician is included to assist with the decision-making process.

Whatif I Get The Flu While Pregnant

Flu medications safe for mom, baby

If you are pregnant and think you have theflu, see your doctor as soon as possible. It is recommended that pregnant womenwho have the flu are treated with antiviral medicines because they are at muchhigher risk of complications. Antiviral medicines work best when started within48 hours of symptoms starting.

Important facts for pregnant women:

  • Flu can be lifethreatening for pregnant women and their baby.
  • Flu shots arefree for all pregnant women.
  • A flu shot is thebest way to protect you and your baby against flu.
  • A flu shot willalso protect your baby from flu after birth.
  • Flu shots aresafe for both mother and baby and can be given at any stage of pregnancy.
  • Contact a doctorimmediately if you develop flu symptoms.

You May Like: Coricidin Hbp Maximum Strength Flu Dosage

Flu Vaccination During Pregnancy

The flu jab will protect both you and your baby.

Pregnant women have a much higher chance of developing complications if they get flu, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy. One of the most common complications of flu is bronchitis, a chest infection that can become serious and develop into pneumonia. Other complications are not common, but include:

  • middle ear infection
  • blood infection that causes a severe drop in blood pressure
  • infection of the brain and spinal cord
  • inflammation of the brain
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle

If you have flu while you’re pregnant, it could mean your baby is born prematurely or has a low birthweight, and can even lead to stillbirth or death in the first week of life.

Getting the flu vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy, from the first few weeks up to your expected due date. The vaccine doesnt carry risks for either you or your baby.

Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first 6 months of their lives.

The vaccine also poses no risk to women who are breastfeeding, or to their babies.

The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women as part of the National Immunisation Program.

Read more about what vaccinations are safe during pregnancy.

What Other Mums Say On Our Forum:

  • You would probably be better to take paracetamol and make a hot honey and lemon drink. That way you dont have half the additives, Samatha24
  • My hubby asked the chemist about throat lozenges and lemsips and was told not to touch them. He said try merocaine lozenges, theyre safe for pregnant women and to be honest I found them better than the normal stuff, BigMumma
  • I had a cold at middle trimester and used them in a bowl of hot water and a towel over my head, either that or vapour rub in bed, Hayleys1
  • A nurse I spoke to recommended lots of orange juice, mixed with hot water if I wanted a hot drink, paracetamol and plenty of rest, KitKat
  • No drugs are tested on pregnant women for obvious reasons, it would be unethical. For this reason its difficult to say which drugs are safe and which arent. Steam inhalation, chicken soup and a duvet should do the trick! Mrshappy123

Read Also: Flu Shot For Pregnant Women

What Causes Flu In Pregnancy

Its busy supplying blood to you and your baby. All of this means your body is stressed during pregnancy. This stress on your body can make you more likely to get the flu. If youre pregnant or had a baby within the last 2 weeks, youre more likely than other women to have serious health problems from the flu.

Common Medications To Avoid

How to get over a cold while pregnant

Knowing what not to take is almost more important than knowing which medications are safe to take during pregnancy. There are a number of medications to avoid while pregnant unless recommended by your doctor. These include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin and Advil , Bayer , and Aleve and Naprosyn , higher doses of which can cause premature blood vessel closure in the baby. However, low-dose aspirin is now routinely recommended for other indications.
  • Any cold remedy containing alcohol, including Benadryl and NyQuil
  • Codeine, a narcotic drug which may cause fetal respiratory depression
  • Bactrim , an antibiotic that can interfere with folic acid metabolism while stimulating the production of bilirubin , both of which are not good for the baby. The concern for folic acid metabolism is only in the first trimester, and the concern for jaundice is only after 32 weeks gestation. The medication can otherwise be used without concern, especially when treatment is necessary.
  • Pseudoephedrine- and phenylephrine-based decongestants, both of which may cause the constriction of blood vessels, potentially increasing the risk of a specific birth defect in the first trimester and risk of elevated blood pressures if used later in pregnancy.

If your cold or flu is severe and you are experiencing chest pains, are coughing up discolored mucus, or have a fever over 102o F, call your doctor immediately.

Read Also: Hy Vee Flu Shot Schedule

More articles

Popular Articles