Pregnancy and Medicine
Although some medications are considered safe to take during pregnancy, the effects of other medications on your unborn baby are unknown. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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 1980-2000 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 potential risks of any medications you take with your health care provider, including over-the-counter medications.
If you were taking prescription medications before you became pregnant, be sure to ask your health care provider about the safety of continuing these medications as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. Your health care provider 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 potential risk associated with taking them.
If you are prescribed any new medication, please inform your health care provider that you are pregnant. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of the newly prescribed medication with your health care provider before taking the medication.
Which Pregnancy Drugs Are Safe?
Prenatal vitamins, now available without a prescription, are safe to take during pregnancy. Ask your health care provider 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, please contact your health care provider.
Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy*
Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton, Efidac, Teldrin)
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.
Milk of Magnesia
For 24 hours, only after 12 weeks of pregnancy:
|First Aid Ointment|
J & J
|Nausea and Vomiting|
Emetrol (if not diabetic)
Vitamin B6 (100 mg tablet)
Caladryl lotion or cream
Hydrocortisone cream or ointment
Oatmeal bath (Aveeno)
Monistat or Terazol
Do not insert applicator too far
|*Please Note: No drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy.|