Home ยป Pregnancy medication safety: Cough and cold

Pregnancy medication safety: Cough and cold

Not come across anything as nagging as a cold in anyone’s life. I bet you agree with how uncomfortable and irritating the experience usually is. The difficulty to properly breath, the throbbing headaches making sleep difficulty and the icing on the cake sometimes a running nose. It is quite easy to catch a cold when pregnant.

Pregnancy is a beautiful experience and takes a lot of caution for all to go smoothly. It includes being careful with the kinds of medication you take during this time. Its starts by informing your doctor of your pregnancy. Oh yes though in our culture we are told to hide it in the first few months. You’ll be surprised that is the most probably period for birth defects (present at birth and affects how your baby’s works, looks or both) to occur. They are at this time the most damaging because the baby is still being formed. As such it is important to know medications which are safe for you and your baby  or babies ๐Ÿ˜‰

Common cold

If you are not pregnant most cold medication (e.g. Litacold) will do just fine ( after reading labels of course) to relieve symptoms. Though colds generally resolve on their own after 3-5 days. Some colds can last up to 14days. Now if you are pregnant or suspect that you are the rules change. 

These are safer alternatives for your cold               

  • Use paracetamol for the headaches and light fever (avoid ibuprofen or aspirin)               
  • use saline water drops for a congested nostril               
  • In case of sore throat, gargle warm salty water (1/4 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water i.e. approx 250ml)     
  • Drink lots of fluid like warm tea               
  • Rest well (this helps in prevention too)               
  • Eat healthy even when you lack appetite (this helps in prevention too)

Phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, which are decongestants. Avoid medicines with these ingredients during the first trimester.


  • Syrups containing carbocysteine, guaifenesin or ambroxol containing syrups  (for wet cough) maybe unsafe in first trimester               
  • Dextromethorphan(for dry cough) is generally considered safe in pregnancy

Respect the doses. Do not increase those to increase effect. Make sure to take only medicines that treat your unique symptoms.

When in doubt, ask your physician/pharmacist and always read drug labels

To prevent colds (in addition to the tips above)               

  • Do light pregnancy safe exercise               
  • Take your prenatal vitamins               
  • Wash hands regularly especially when close to persons with a cold

Take home message: to avoid your bundle(s) of joy to be born with a birth defect, take extra precaution of the medicines you takes especially in the first trimester and finally I can’t over emphasize the importance of reading drugs labels.


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