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Pregnancy and Medicine

pregnant belly, pills in hand

Although some medications are considered safe to take during pregnancy, the effects of other medications on your unborn baby are unknown. According to the CDC, about two-thirds of women in the U.S. take one or more prescription medications during pregnancy. Yet most medications have not been adequately studied for their safety during pregnancy. One report notes that more that 90% of the medications approved by the FDA from 1980 to 2000 had insufficient data to determine safety in pregnancy. Therefore, it is very important to pay special attention to medications you take while you are pregnant, especially during the first trimester, which is a crucial time of development for your baby. 

An estimated 50% of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned. Therefore, all women of childbearing age should discuss the risks of any medications you take with your doctor, including over-the-counter medications.

If you were taking prescription medications before you became pregnant,  be sure to ask your doctor about the safety of continuing these medications as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. Your doctor will weigh the benefit to you and the risk to your baby when making his or her recommendations. With some medications, the risk of not taking them may be more serious than the risk associated with taking them.

If you are prescribed any new medication, please inform your doctor that you are pregnant. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of the newly prescribed medication with your doctor before taking the medication.

Which Pregnancy Drugs Are Safe?

Prenatal vitamins, now available without a prescription, are safe to take during pregnancy. Ask your doctor about the safety of taking other vitamins, herbal remedies, and supplements during pregnancy. Most herbal preparations and supplements have not been proven to be safe during pregnancy. Generally, you should not take any over-the-counter medication unless it is necessary.

The following medications and home remedies have no known harmful effects during pregnancy when taken according to the package directions. If you want to know about the safety of any other medications not listed here, ask your doctor.

Condition

Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy*

Allergy

Antihistamines including:

Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton, Efidac, Teldrin)

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin, Loradamed, Tavist ND Allergy)

Cold and Flu

Halls*, Robitussin, Romilar, Trind-DM, Vicks Cough Syrup  

Saline nasal drops or spray

Actifed, Dristan, Neosynephrine*, Sudafed

Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Tylenol Cold

Warm salt/water gargle

*Do not take "SA" (sustained action) forms or "Multi-Symptom" forms of these drugs.

Constipation

Citrucil

Colace

Fiberall/Fibercon

Metamucil

Milk of Magnesia

Senekot

Diarrhea

For 24 hours, only after 12 weeks of pregnancy:
Imodium

Kaopectate

Parepectolin

First Aid Ointment

Bacitracin

J & J

Neosporin

HeadacheTylenol (acetaminophen)
Heartburn

Gaviscon

Maalox

Mylanta

Riopan

Titralac

TUMs

Hemorrhoids

Anusol

Preparation H

Tucks

Witch hazel

Nausea and Vomiting

Emetrex

Emetrol (if not diabetic)

Sea bands

Vitamin B6 (100 mg tablet)

Rashes

Benadryl cream

Caladryl lotion or cream

Hydrocortisone cream or ointment

Oatmeal bath (Aveeno)

Yeast Infection

Monistat or Terazol

Do not insert applicator too far

*Please Note: No drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

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