If you are pregnant and suffering from a winter cold or flu; you may be wondering which (if any) cold medicine is safe to take, and if there are any alternatives to the over the counter cold remedies at the drug store.
The answer is yes, there are alternatives, but not all of them are necessarily safer for your baby than a pharmaceutical concoction.
First and foremost, if you are ill, contact your doctor and discuss your symptoms, especially if there is a fever involved. Your doctor will want to rule out other possible reasons for fever, such as infection. Discuss what medication your doctor recommends to treat your symptoms.
Here is a list of medications that have no known negative effect on the developing fetus:
- Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Tylenol Cold
- Warm salt/water gargle
- Saline nasal drops or spray
- Sudafed, Actifed, Dristan, Neosynephrine*
- Robitussin DM, Trind-DM, Vicks Cough Syrup, Romilar, Halls*
- *Do not take "SA" (sustained action) forms of these drugs or the "Multi-Symptom" forms of these drugs.
Take only what you need. If you only have a stuffy nose, don’t take a medicine that treats four different symptoms. Opt for medications that treat one item at a time (like Tylenol for a headache and a numbing spray for a sore throat, not a combination medication for fever, cough, and congestion.)
Salt water nasal spray, gargling and neti pots
can be a great way to treat nasal congestion and sore throat.
Honey has been proven to be more effective for quieting a cough than cough medicine. Two tablespoons of honey soothes the throat and quiets a cough for hours. (Do not give honey to babies under one year old, due to possible bacteria that an infant’s digestive system is not mature enough to fight effectively.)
While salt water and honey are safe and effective ways to treat symptoms, there are other “natural” or herbal remedies that are not recommended during pregnancy. There hasn’t been enough research done on herbal cold remedies, and there is no governmental oversight (FDA) to regulate the effectiveness or danger to pregnant women, so discuss any herbs you are considering with your doctor.
If you have a question about a specific medication, you can call the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), at 866-626-6847.