Monday, October 2, 2023

What Cold And Flu Medicine Is Safe When Pregnant

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Prescription Medications Youre Already Taking

Colds and Pregnancy | Shane Reeves, MD, Maternal and Fetal Medicine | UCHealth

Before pregnancy, you may already be taking prescription medications for thyroid issues, high blood pressure, or other conditions. Speak with your doctor about continuing these medications, especially if youre already pregnant or plan to become pregnant in the near future.

In many cases, you may safely take your medication during pregnancy. Sometimes you may need to either adjust dosages or switch to another medication thats considered safer for you and baby.

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

Cold Medications That Are Okay To Take During Pregnancy

The following drugs have been studied or used relatively often in pregnant women and are generally considered safe to use when you’re expecting:

  • Acetaminophinto relieve pain and reduce fevers. It’s best to take the minimum effective dose for only as long as you need it, and to never exceed the recommended maximum dosage per day.
  • Antihistaminesto relieve nasal congestion. Antihistamines that are considered safe for pregnant women include:
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Dexchlorpheniramine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • The cough suppressant dextromethorphan is often found in over-the-counter cold medicines like Robitussin and is considered safe for pregnant women.
  • Cough drops with benzocaine or menthol are usually approved for use during pregnancy. Benzocaine doesn’t get into the bloodstream, so it’s very unlikely to pose a risk to a developing baby. Menthol is unlikely to cause problems during pregnancy, as long as it’s used as recommended.
  • are usually considered safe for use over a short period of time. Nasal strips, saline nasal sprays, and Neti pots are the safest options to use during pregnancy, as they don’t contain any medications.
  • with camphor oil is generally considered safe if used on the skin as directed, though it isn’t an effective decongestant. The ingredients in a chest rub might feel nice and make you feel like you’re breathing easier, though.
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    Choosing The Best Cold Medicine For Pregnancy

    Most cold medicines contain two or more drugs to treat several symptoms, making it more likely that they may contain a drug that isn’t safe during pregnancy. To be safe, read labels and choose an option with the least number of active ingredients. During pregnancy, it’s usually best to buy the specific medications you need individually rather than a multi-symptom medication.

    Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any medication when you’re expecting. That way you can be sure you’re choosing the safest option at the recommended dosage, and that it doesn’t interfere with any other medications or supplements you’re taking.

    Learn more about which medications are safe during pregnancy.

    BabyCenter’s editorial team is committed to providing the most helpful and trustworthy pregnancy and parenting information in the world. When creating and updating content, we rely on credible sources: respected health organizations, professional groups of doctors and other experts, and published studies in peer-reviewed journals. We believe you should always know the source of the information you’re seeing. Learn more about our editorial and medical review policies.

    Erebara A, et al. 2008. Treating the common cold during pregnancy. Canadian Family Physician h54:687-9.

    Medscape. 2013. Drugs in pregnancy.

    MotherToBaby. 2020. Cetirizine.

    Medicines That Are Safe For Pregnant Women To Take When Sick

    Cold Medicine While Pregnant? Try These Safe Cold &  Flu Herbs Instead

    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.

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    How To Prevent A Cold During Pregnancy

    Besides avoiding anyone who is visibly sick, wash your hands with soap and water a little more often and scrupulously than you did before. Dont just wash and shake use a towel to make sure your hands are completely dry when youre done. In a pinch, carry an alcohol gel with 60 percent alcohol on the label for quick sanitizing on the go.

    But dont blame yourself if you still come down with a cold or several during your pregnancy, despite your best efforts. Viruses are almost impossible to avoid, especially in the winter. There are many joys of being pregnant, but alas, being even more vulnerable to nasty cold bugs isnt one of them. And just remember: This, too, shall pass.

    Safe Constipation Remedies During Pregnancy

    • Metamucil, Citracel, Fibercon, Benefiber
    • Stool softeners colace ,1 tablet 2-3 times a day, pericolace ,1 tablet 1-3 times a day
    • Laxatives such as Milk of Magnesia, Correctal, Fleets enema and Miralax
    • Imodium liquid or capsules for diarrhea
    • Psyllium, which is the basic ingredient in Konsyl and Metamucil

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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
    • A dry cough, particularly near the colds end, which may continue for a week or more after other symptoms have subsided
    • Low-grade fever

    Can I Take Cold Medicine While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

    Medication for Cold during Pregnancy

    There are certain cold medicines that are considered safe to take while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The safety of using over-the-counter cold medication while pregnant or breastfeeding depends on the specific medicines within the products, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and any other medical conditions you may have. You should only use cold medicines for the shortest time possible to help with your symptoms. Always be sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter cold medicines during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

    The American Pregnancy Association recommends limiting the amount of over-the-counter cold medicines you take and trying certain home remedies to alleviate symptoms. They promote washing your hands regularly, drinking plenty of fluids, getting ample amounts of rest, eating well and only using medications to treat the symptoms you are experiencing. As a home remedy for sinus congestion, they recommend using a humidifier, keeping your head elevated on a pillow while resting and/or using adhesive nasal strips. For a sore throat, they recommend sucking on ice chips, drinking warm herbal tea or gargling warm salt water.

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    Cold And Flu Season Has Arrived

    While catching a cold is a hindrance at the best of times, becoming unwell during pregnancy is especially complicated. After all, everything that happens to you during pregnancy affects not just your body but that of your baby. Given this, you want to be careful with the medications you use to alleviate symptoms.

    Although cold and flu are both highly common illnesses, pregnant people are at increased risk since the immune system is suppressed to protect the baby from the bodys defences. As such, pregnant people are more likely to experience worse cold symptoms, take longer to recover and are more vulnerable to cold complications, such as bronchitis, sinus infections and pneumonia.

    If you are pregnant and suffering from a cold, here is our guide to managing your symptoms.

    Can Having A Cold Or The Flu While Pregnant Hurt The Baby

    Catching a cold wont affect your unborn baby, said Olga Tusheva, M.D., Inspira Medical Group OB/GYN. Theyre protected by the placenta, your immune system and their own immune system, ensuring they dont experience symptoms. However, more severe infections like the flu can be dangerous and cause complications that may affect fetal development. The flu shot can be a safe effective precaution for expecting parents. If you suspect you have the flu, talk to your doctor to learn about pregnancy-safe treatments that can help reduce symptoms and get you on the path to recovery.

    Recommended Reading: How Do Doctors Treat The Flu

    Types Of Cold Medications To Consider

    Even after your first trimester, it is best to speak with your doctor about the types and brands of cold medications that are safe to take. Typically speaking, you should avoid any multi-symptom product, which could include ingredients that range from painkillers and decongestants to expectorants and cough suppressants.

    Instead, get the drug to treat the symptom you’re experiencing. There are a number of over-the-counter drugs considered to be safe in pregnancy, such as:

    • Anesthetic cough drops such as Chloraseptic or Cepacol lozenges
    • Expectorants containing guaifenesin to help clear mucus
    • Alcohol-free cough syrups containing dextromethorphan, such as Tussin DM
    • Combination guaifenesin/dextromethorphan drugs
    • Tylenol to treat fever and minor aches and pains
    • Menthol rubs such as Vicks or Mentholatum ointment

    When buying any over-the-counter cold or flu remedy, always read the label closely. In some cases, there may be ingredients you should avoid. In others, there may be ingredients you don’t need.

    From Sore Throats & Sneezing To The Flu Learn How To Support Yourself When You Feel Unwell During Pregnancy

    9 Safe Home Remedies for Cold and Cough During Pregnancy

    Your body will see many changes throughout your pregnancy, and a temporary adjustment to your immune system is one of them. This is all to protect you and your baby different parts of your immune system are enhanced while others are suppressed, helping to shield baby from the risk of infection without compromising your own health. These changes also help protect your baby from your body natural defences.

    As your immune system is now working hard to support the two of you, the chances of catching a common cold are higher during pregnancy.

    The common cold is a viral infection that causes a range of symptoms, including:

    A sore throat

    A blocked or runny nose

    A high temperature

    Loss of taste or smell

    Colds usually come on gradually, and you’ll start feeling better in a week or two.

    Getting a cold while you’re pregnant

    Generally speaking, getting a cold while you’re pregnant is unlikely to be serious, and you won’t need to see your GP or midwife. Get as much rest as you can, drink plenty of fluids and aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

    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.

    Cold & flu medicines

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    Which Medications Should I Avoid While Pregnant

    Cold medications that are generally considered off-limits during pregnancy include:

    • Some pain relievers and fever reducers, including ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen
    • Most decongestants, including Claritin-D, DayQuil or Sudafed
    • Non-steroidal nasal sprays, such as Afrin

    Always read medication labels carefully and avoid alternative or homeopathic remedies, such as echinacea, vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies, until you have approval from your doctor.

    What Do Cold Medicines Treat

    Unfortunately, getting sick during pregnancy isnt uncommonthe immune system goes through a series of changes during those nine months that make it vulnerable to infections.

    Tylenol to prevent fever is recommended, as fever can be detrimental to a developing embryo.

    Instead, make every effort to help your body recover by slowing down, resting, and avoiding stresses that can affect your immune system. You can do this by:

    • Staying in bed, napping, and getting as much rest as possible
    • Drinking plenty of water, soup broth, or juice
    • Gargling with salt water to treat a sore throat or cough
    • Sucking on ice chips to alleviate a sore throat and to help with hydration
    • Using a humidifier to help relieve congestion
    • Eating small, healthy meals regularly
    • Taking your prenatal vitamins

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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.

    Common Medications To Avoid

    Quick & Easy Cold/Flu Remedies 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.

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    Can I Take Cold And Flu Meds While Pregnant

    Pregnant women need to be very careful with cold and flu medications because many contain pseudoephedrine: It can affect maternal blood flow, which can have an adverse effect on the baby, says MacQuarrie. Koren recommends treating symptoms topically with medicated nose drops. These have much lower concentrations of the chemicals that constrict the blood vessels in the nose, and thats much safer, he says. Very little of the medication is getting into your system, or the babys. Read the box or ask a pharmacist if youre not sure if a product contains pseudoephedrine.

    Sniffling & Sneezing Your Way Through Colds & Flu When Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

    Disclaimer: This page houses important information and resources pertaining to colds and the flu duringpregnancy and while breastfeeding, including links to our evidence-based Fact Sheets. However, the resources here should not replace the care and advice of a medical professional.

    The common cold may have you looking for medications you can use to treat symptoms such as cough, sore throat, congestion, sneezing, and fever. Over-the-counter products that you normally reach for without a second thought may now give you pause when youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Although many cold medications are not expected to increase pregnancy or breastfeeding risks with short-term use, some medications may be preferred over others. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any medications, and check out our resources if youre looking for information about a specific active ingredient.

    Normal changes in the immune system that occur during pregnancy may increase your risk of flu complications. You also have a higher risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor and preterm birth, if you get the flu. You are more likely to be hospitalized if you get the flu while you are pregnant than when you are not pregnant. Your risk of dying from the flu is increased as well.

    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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    How Do You Know You Got Flu While Pregnant

    What is the secret to identifying flu symptoms during pregnancy? Some women experience slow or mild signs of cold when they have conceive. Other ladies, especially the one who got pregnant for the first time, show sudden appearance of cold and flu symptom.

    Before you try to get rid of flue when pregnant, master these symptoms first in addition to usual running nose and blocked nostril, bronchitis or pneumonia.

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