What Are The Medications And Safety Measures For A Pregnant Woman And Her Foetus
Generally speaking, it can be said that the broad principles for treating a cold and the flu apply whether or not a woman is pregnant. However, the drug choice to ease symptoms can sometimes differ and requires greater caution.
First, a salt water solution should be used to relieve sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. There are various formulations available at the pharmacy. If this measure is ineffective, the use of certain over-the-counter medications may be considered. If this occurs, be sure to ask your pharmacist for advice.
Unless otherwise instructed by a healthcare professional, acetaminophen can be used to ease muscle pain, sore throat, headache or fever. Do not take other medications to ease symptoms unless recommended by a doctor or pharmacist. Gargling with salt water may help to ease a sore throat.
Dextromethorphan is a good choice to ease a dry and unpleasant cough. Some cough syrups contain an expectorant called guaifenesin. This medication is considered safe, but its effectiveness has not been proven. In this context, it may be better to avoid it altogether.
If you are pregnant, always speak to your pharmacist before taking any medication, including natural health products and supplements. Since many products contain several ingredients, vigilance is key.
What Cold And Sinus Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy
Most over-the-counter cold and allergy medications are safe to take during pregnancy, including:
- Mentholated or non-mentholated cough drops
- Saline nasal drops or spray
However, always talk to your doctor, and consider trying non-drug remedies first. Also be careful with multi-symptom relief drugs, or with Sustained Action forms of medications. NyQuil and its generic equivalents should be avoided since this medication contains alcohol.
How Can You Tell If You Have A Cold Or The Flu During Pregnancy
The most common cold symptoms include:
- runny nose
Typical symptoms of the flu include:
- a bad cough
- sore throat
These symptoms are transient and of a variable nature and intensity. They generally resolve themselves within 10 to 14 days.
Treatment of a cold and the flu is based above all on rest and symptom relief.
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Can You Take Antidepressants And Anti
There is mixed research about the safety of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications for pregnant women. Some risks have been identified. For example, benzodiazepines are not recommended because they may cause problems like orofacial clefts, hypotonia, apnea, and feeding difficulties. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors have been linked to birth defects in some studies, but not others. Tricyclic Antidepressants may cause preterm births and other complications.
However, there are also risks to leaving a psychiatric disorder untreated. Women with depression are at increased risk of certain medical conditions, and they may not properly care for themselves during or after pregnancy. Its important for pregnant women to tend to their mental health so that they can properly care for the baby.
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
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.
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Common Cold Symptoms During Pregnancy
Generally, a cold will start with a sore or scratchy throat lasting about a day or two, followed by the gradual onset of other symptoms which may include:
- Mild fatigue
- A runny, then later stuffy nose
- A dry cough, particularly as the cold is ending which may continue for a week or more after the other symptoms have mostly subsided
- A low-grade fever typically under 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Cold symptoms usually last between 10 to 14 days. However, if your symptoms persist longer than that time frame or seem to progressively worsen, you should talk to your primary care physician so they can ensure it hasnt turned into something more serious like an infection or the flu.
Cold Medicine And Pregnancy
Coming down with the common cold is always unpleasant, let alone if you’re pregnant. While many medications are off-limits during pregnancy, there are some remedies to relieve your symptoms.
Common Cold Medicine and Pregnancy: Go Natural
Before you consider taking drugstore medicines for the common cold, you might want to consider some good old-fashioned home remedies, says Elisa Ross, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist on staff with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
The reason: No over-the-counter medicines are really treating the cold or helping you get better, they just control symptoms.
Dr. Ross suggests:
- Chicken soup
Common Cold Medicine and Pregnancy: Whats Safe?
If you can’t get enough relief from those home remedies, its possible to use common cold medicines with a few precautions. First, guidelines say its best to avoid all medication during the first trimester.
“In the first 12 weeks the baby is making its organs, and so in general, if people don’t need to take something during that time it would be great if they didnt,” says Dr. Ross. more serious consequences at the beginning of the pregnancy.”
Next, Ross says the safest bet is to look for medications with the fewest ingredients possible.
There are also specific medicines to avoid during pregnancy:
Common Cold Medicine and Pregnancy: The Safe List
- Zinc lozenges
- Chloraseptic spray
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Can You Take Robitussin Dm When Pregnant
Robitussin DM is a cough and cold combination medicine with guaifenesin and dextromethorphan as main ingredients. Guaifenesin loosens mucus while dextromethorphan works to suppress cough. Both ingredients are safe to use during pregnancy.
Robitussin products have not shown an increased risk of major malformations in a fetus, but your doctor may recommend waiting until late pregnancy to take strong combination products such as this.
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.
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Supplement Use During Pregnancy
Discuss any supplements you take or plan to take during your pregnancy with your doctor.
While prenatal vitamins are recommended to support levels of essential vitamins and minerals, like folate, other supplements may pose risks to your baby. They may also interact with medications youre already taking.
Note that just because something is labeled all-natural doesnt always mean its safe. Supplements are by the FDA in the same way as prescription drugs. Approach them with caution and discuss using with your doctor before starting any.
How Do I Know If I Have A Cold During Pregnancy
Symptoms of a cold during pregnancy are no different than the usual cold symptoms. These include:
Having a fever in early pregnancy has been linked to birth defects. If you notice a fever at any time during your pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider to see if treatment is needed.
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How Can You Prevent Catching A Cold During Pregnancy
Colds cannot be prevented entirely. However, the following tips may help
- Avoid close contact with people who have a cold.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds every few hours.
- Use a clean towel to dry your hands.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and eyes to prevent infection.
- Sneeze or cough into your upper shirt sleeve.
- Always wear a mask while stepping out, especially during COVID-19 times.
- Use a hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol if hand washing is not available.
- Avoid going outdoors unless it is necessary.
Dealing With A Cold While Pregnant
A cold is a very common mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause a blocked nose followed by a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough. The cold will usually last for about a week as the body fights off the infection.
There is no cure for a cold, although you can usually relieve the symptoms of a cold at home by taking over-the-counter medication, such as paracetamol, and drinking plenty of fluids.
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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
Is It Dangerous To Have A Cold Or The Flu During Pregnancy
When a cold strikes during pregnancy, it does not really represent a health risk to the mother or her unborn child, even if it momentarily compromises the well-being and quality of life of the person affected by it.
The same cannot be said about the flu , which carries serious complication risks throughout pregnancy. These complications may result in respiratory problems and lead to hospitalization. In the worst cases, there is a risk of premature labour and even the death of the mother or foetus.
Canadian public health authorities recommend that all pregnant women be vaccinated against influenza, regardless of the stage of their pregnancy, to prepare for flu season . Additionally, it is advisable to treat pregnant women with antiviral medication if they have the flu. You should see a doctor if you think you have the flu.
Both a cold and the flu are contagious viral respiratory infections. Therefore, they cannot be treated with an antibiotic, unless they are accompanied by a bacterial infection such as otitis, sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia.
The best way to prevent these types of infections is to adopt effective hygiene measures, such as frequent handwashing and physical distancing. It is also important to avoid close contact with infected persons.
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Treating A Cold While You’re Pregnant
To help relieve your headache and throat pain, and to help reduce a high temperature, you can consider taking paracetamol. Paracetamol is generally considered safe for use at all stages of pregnancy.
As with any medicine, you should take the lowest dose needed, for the shortest amount of time required. If you have any questions, your pharmacist can offer advice.
What Cold Medications Should You Avoid During Pregnancy
You may avoid the following cold medications during pregnancy :
- Oral and topical decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine can be associated with birth defects in early pregnancy. While a few studies have not shown any risks to oral decongestants in pregnancy, these medications are also found in OTC cold medications.
- Analgesics such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are associated with increasing the risk of spontaneous abortion . However, it is not shown to cause intrauterine growth retardation, preterm delivery, and congenital abnormalities if taken just before or during the early weeks of pregnancy.
- Analgesics such asaspirin or acetylsalicylic acid are associated with delivery complications and adverse effects in babies.
- NSAIDs and ASA in the third trimester can lead to premature closure of ductus arteriosus in babies, and it should be avoided.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Cold During Pregnancy
A cold usually begins with a sore or scratchy throat that lasts for a day or two, followed by the gradual appearance of other symptoms, including:
- A runny, then later stuffy, nose
- Mild fatigue
- A dry cough, particularly near the colds end, which may continue for a week or more after other symptoms have subsided
- Low-grade fever
How Do You Recognize A Cold Or The Flu During Pregnancy
A cold is a common type of mild viral infection that impacts the nose, throat, upper airways, and sinuses. Your nose gets blocked followed by sneezing, a runny nose, cough, and a sore throat. There are a few over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol available to treat it.
Flu, on the other hand, is a transmittable viral illness that is spread via sneezes and coughs. Flu is not the same as cold. It is a short form of influenza. A certain different group of viruses is responsible for causing it.
While colds normally get treated in a week with medicines, flu symptoms are more severe and so it takes more time to treat them. Antiviral medicines help in getting rid of it. In absence of effective treatment, it may even lead to birth defects and premature delivery. So, if you are identified with flu, you need to seek your health care provider immediately.
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Cold Medications For Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Selecting a cold medication while pregnant or breastfeeding that is going to be safe for both you and your baby can be stressful and overwhelming.
Here, you’ll find answers to your questions and information about common ingredients found in cold medicines that are considered safe for you and your baby.
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Monique Rainford, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, and currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Medicine. She is the former chief of obstetrics-gynecology at Yale Health.
Pregnancy temporarily changes some aspects of your immune system function. These changes don’t protect you from certain infections, including the common cold. Getting sick when you’re pregnant is tough, and the effects of being sick can make it a challenge to eat well and get enough sleep. When you’re pregnant, you also have to avoid some of the medical treatments that are normally used to treat illnesses. Learn how to manage the common cold while you are pregnant.
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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.
Is It Safe To Take Cold And Flu Remedies While Pregnant
Dr Rob Hicks explains which over-the-counter medicines are OK to have during pregnancy
Can I take cold and flu remedies, such as Lemsip?, is a common question during pregnancy.
Family GP Dr Rob says, Its best to avoid medicines when pregnant. However, paracetamol is fine to take during pregnancy. With ibuprofen, there are different guidelines on whether it is safe to take, depending on which stage of pregnancy youre at.
The NHS states, Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine . The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency advises that NSAIDs should not be used in the first two trimesters of pregnancy unless the potential benefit to the patient outweighs the potential risk to the foetus. NSAIDs should not be used at all in the third trimester unless on the advice of a doctor. Paracetamol, which is not an NSAID, is usually recommended as a safer choice than ibuprofen.
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