Getting sick is never amusing. Headache, stuffy nose or other signs associated with flu and other similar illnesses are never pleasant. They seem to be even more accentuated during pregnancy when besides the symptoms specific to pregnancy, you experience new ones due to an infection. So, is it ok to take drugs during pregnancy when you are getting sick?
You may confront yourself during pregnancy with acute affections that required medication without medical prescription. Some drugs are safe, while other ones may affect the normal development of the baby. To make sure these drugs don`t affect him in any way, it`s best as when you find out you are pregnant, to check what categories of drugs are allowed, what alternatives are accepted for those with side effects on pregnancy, and what doses and in what frequency can you used them. The doctor/midwife who supervises your pregnancy will always put in balance the benefits and risks provide by each medication. The only category that shouldn`t concern you is in regards of prenatal vitamins, which are very important to administer, especially if you experience various deficiencies.
Table of Contents
- 1 What & When Drugs Cross the Placenta?
- 2 What Medications Are Safe to Take during Pregnancy?
- 3 List of Safe Medications to Take While Pregnant
- 4 Is it Ok to Take Antibiotics while Pregnant?
- 5 What Painkillers Are Safe to Take during Pregnancy?
- 6 Is it Ok to Take Aspirin during Pregnancy?
- 7 Is it Ok Medications for Diarrhea during Pregnancy?
- 8 Is it Ok to Take Drugs against Cold while Pregnant?
What & When Drugs Cross the Placenta?
Most issues occur with medications which cross the placenta and reach the baby. Those substances, which cross the placenta and lead to fetal abnormalities, are known as teratogenic.
You should know that there`s a susceptibility to the action of teratogenic agents (some infections, certain medications, ionizing radiation, drugs, etc).
In the first 2 weeks of pregnancy (also known as the pre-organogenesis phase), the embryo seems to be resistant to the teratogenic factors` action, but too much exposure might be lethal. Between weeks 3 and 8 of pregnancy is the period of maximum susceptibility in relation to the action of these agents, as now is the time when organs are formed.
Now most fetal abnormalities are produced (although less than 1% of congenital malformations are due to teratogenic drugs).
Between the week 9 and 38, the fetus is less vulnerable to teratogenic factors, in this period of time occurring only minor defects.
What Medications Are Safe to Take during Pregnancy?
- Antibiotics: amoxicillin, metronidazole, clindamycin, ampicillin, augmentin, erythromycin, cefalexin or azithromycin.
- For allergies: chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, clarithine or cetirizine.
- Bloating, gas & stomach indigestion: Maalox type antacids, lansoprazole, omeprazole.
- For flu, cold or headache: paracetamol or acetaminophen, saline nasal spray or drops, salt water gargle, guaifenesin, Tamiflu, dextromethorphan. Pseudoephedrine and alcohol aren`t safe to use. – Learn more!
- Irritations: oatmeal bath, benadryl, hydrocortisone cream / ointment.
- Antivirals: famvir, aciclavir or valciclavir.
- Constipation: psyllium, methylcellulose, other laxatives (Dulcolax), bisacodyl, lactulose, hemorrhoid creams, sodium docusate, magnesium milk.
- Insomnia: doxylamine succinate, diphenhydramine.
- Diarrhea: loperameid.
- Antispastics – droughtverine.
- Antiemetics – metoclopramide.
- Candida & other infections: fluconazole, miconazole, butoconazole, clotrimazole, thioconazole, terbinafine or tolnaftat.
- First aid in minor injuries: bacitracin.
Drugs with No Risk within the Doctor`s Doses
- Paracetamol (Panadol, Acetaminophen, Tylenol).
- Sulfamide (the first 6 months).
- Antiacide (Zantac, Maalox, Tagamet, Pepcid).
- Antibiotics (Penicillin, Erythromycin, Cephalosporine, Cindamycin, Nitrofurantoin).
- Aspartame (Nutrasweet).
- Medicinal plants: linden flowers, chamomile, mint leaves, corn, birch, bilberry or mallow.
Drugs Used with Caution
These medications are to be used only with the doctor`s prescription, within the doses and intervals prescribed, and when the doctor decides that the benefits of the mother and her child are greater than any possible risks:
- Acyclovir (antiherpetic).
- Albuterol (antiasthmatic).
- Tranquilizers might lead to tremors, which may continue for several months after birth.
- Live vaccines: against epidemic epidemics, measles or rubella.
- Medicinal plants which may produced birth defects: the wolf`s apple, basil (the oil extracted from this plant), fern (rhizome), catpalan (rhizome) or the lamb`s tongue (the whole plant).
List of Safe Medications to Take While Pregnant
Paracetamol – The product can be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but only with the doctor`s approval.
Fervex (It Contains Paracetamol) – Talk to a pharmacist or doctor before using any drug. Talk to your doctor if you`re pregnant or planning to conceive. Due to lack of studies, the risk is unknown. Consequently, this drug isn`t allowed during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as a precaution measure.
Coldrex (It Contains Paracetamol) – If you are expecting a baby or you are breastfeeding, ask for the doctor`s advice or talk to a pharmacist before taking Coldrex.
Nurofen (It Contains Ibuprofen) – “CAUTION” – Don`t take Nurofen Forte if you have 3 more months until birth. You should be extra cautious when taking Nurofen Forte if you are in the first 6 months of pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding.
Nurofen Forte may reduce your chances of conceiving. You should have a discussion with the doctor who supervises your pregnancy if you are planning to conceive or if you experience difficulties in getting pregnant.
Ibuprofen cannot be taken in the last 3 months of pregnancy, because it may lead to major fetal disturbances in the kidneys, heart or lungs. If it`s used in the last months of pregnancy, if may lead to bleeding and decreased uterine contractions, delaying the onset of birth.
Treatment during the first 6 months of pregnancy will be followed only if it`s absolutely necessary and will be recommended only by your doctor. Ibuprofen can make things difficult when trying to conceive. You should immediately tell your doctor if you experience problems when trying to conceive or if you are trying to become pregnant.
Ibuprofen passes in very small amounts in breast milk and generally breastfeeding shouldn`t be interrupted during short-term treatments. Still, if you are recommended a long-term treatment, you should take into account a definitive discontinuation of breastfeeding.
Modafen (It Contains Ibuprofen) – “CAUTION” – Don`t take Modafen if you are breastfeeding or you are pregnant. Talk to a pharmacist or your doctor for advice before considering taking this medication.
Algocalmin – “CAUTION” – The studies performed on animals with high doses of metamizol have shown teratogenic effects. When regarding the fetus, there`s a risk of haematological damage. Taking metamizole during pregnancy may cause premature closure of the arterial canal. As a result, metamizole isn`t recommended in the first and third trimester of pregnancy. In the second trimester of pregnancy, it can only be used if it`s extremely necessary. The metabolites of this medication are eliminated in breast milk. Due to the myelotoxic risk, breastfeeding should be discontinued within 2 days from administration.
Faringosept – Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice before taking this drug while pregnant. Don`t use Faringosept 10 mg without your doctor`s approval.
Strepsils – Ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice before taking this drug during pregnancy. Although it hasn`t been established whether or not this drug is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, this medication may be offered to pregnancy or breastfeeding women.
Aspirin – “CAUTION” – Acetylsalicylic acid has been proven to be teratogenic in experimental research on lab animals. Epidemiological research regarding women who were pregnant didn`t reveal teratogenic and fetotoxic effects in the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy, but the experience is limited to high-dose chronic wasting. Its usage in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with siren`s cardiac pulmonary toxicity, delayed or prolonged labor, increased incidence of hemorrhagic accidents and early closure of the arterial canal. In the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy, acetylsalicylic acid might be administered, but only with the doctor`s approval. It`s recommended chronic treatment with doses of >150 mg/day. In the third trimester of pregnancy, acetylsalicylic acid isn`t recommended. Because this drug passes into breast milk, it shouldn`t be used during breastfeeding.
Dicarbocalm – Dicarbocalm is administered during pregnancy and breastfeeding only after careful consideration of the maternal therapeutic benefit/potential fetal risk.
Colebil – There`s no data to indicate that this product will influence pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Furazolidon – “CAUTION” – Don`t take this Furazolidon Therapy if:
- You`re pregnant in the third trimester;
- You`re breastfeeding your infant of less than 1 month old.
There are no controlled studies available with furazolidone for women who are pregnant. Thus, Furazolidon Therapy is contraindicated during pregnancy. This drug is associated with fetal hemolytic anemia. It`s not yet known if Furazolidone is excreted in breast milk, so it isn`t advisable to breastfeed when taking this drug.
Smecta – Smecta can be offered while pregnant or breastfeeding because it doesn`t absorb and remains unchanged.
Metoclopramide – Since there wasn`t conducted any controlled studies and the ones regarding the effect of metoclopramide on reproduction of animals aren`t really relevant, this drug should be taken while pregnant only if is really required and only after the doctor`s approval.
This drug is excreted in breast milk, so it`s administered only after evaluation of the maternal therapeutic benefit/potential fetal risk.
Rennie – Rennie Spearmint relieves rapidly the affections and signs associated with gastric hyperacidity, like:
- Gastric pallor;
- Indigestion during pregnancy;
- Episodes of gastralgia;
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Dulcolax – “CAUTION” – Dulcolax may be administered to children and old people, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women. However, you should use caution during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Children under 4 years of age should be consulted before taking Dulcolax.
Metoclopramide – Ask the pharmacist or doctor for advice before taking this drug. There are no studies associated with this medication on pregnant women. Glycerin suppositories can be used while pregnant and breastfeeding when is really necessary.
Olynth – “CAUTION” – Xylometazoline shouldn`t be administered during pregnancy because there`re no studies that show the effects on the baby. The drug shouldn`t be administered during breastfeeding either, because it`s not really known whether it`s passes in breast milk. For more information, talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
Gaviscon Advance – There is an open, uncontrolled study of 146 women which didn`t show significant side effects of this medication while pregnant or on the baby`s health. Based on this study, it`s safe to assume that this drug can be administered during breastfeeding or pregnancy. However, taking into consideration the presence of calcium carbonate, it`s recommended to limit the duration of treatment as much as you can.
Is it Ok to Take Antibiotics while Pregnant?
This question needs a relative answer: it depends! There are antibiotics on the market which can be taken during pregnancy, antibiotics that may affect the development of the fetus and others that are somewhere in between. Still, most antibiotics pass the placental barrier and reach the fetal circulation, interfering with the normal development and causing abnormalities.
Penicillins are in the category of antibiotics that are less toxic and are used to treat a large range of infections. Cephalosporins are quite good, but they need to be taken with caution. Aminoglycosides may lead to deafness, toxic effects in the kidneys and affect the balance. Tetracyclines aren`t allowed while pregnant, especially when talking about the second or third trimester of pregnancy, because once they reach the fetal blood, they accumulate in bones and teeth, and are toxic for the liver. Chloramphenicol in newborns may cause “gray syndrome,” which manifests itself by diarrhea, dehydration, vomiting or bruised skin.
Amoxicillin is frequently used while pregnant. Research has discovered no relation between this drug and a poor outcome of pregnancy. It`s essential for bacterial infections during pregnancy to be treated as early as possible and used antibiotics that will offer results. If such an infection remains untreated, it may lead to serious harm to both the mother and her child. A treatment that includes amoxicillin might be the safest option for you or your future baby.
What Painkillers Are Safe to Take during Pregnancy?
If you follow the dosage from the bottle`s instructions, you should be fine. Other painkiller types (Ibuprofen, naproxen) may lead to a decrease in the levels of amniotic liquid, which automatically means more pressure on the umbilical cord and less cushioning for your baby. These medications might make a particular vessel in the heart of the baby close prematurely and lead to various developmental problems in later pregnancy stages.
Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammation drug that is frequently used for treating arthritis, fever, headache or muscle pains. The commercial names of this drug are Advil, Rupan, Nurofen and Paduden. Two studies have shown an increased risk of miscarriage due to its usage during the first trimester of pregnancy. Even so, other studies didn`t prove anything harmful from using this medication while pregnant. Also, there are researches that showed that its administration during pregnancy may prevent fetal implantation.
The administration of ibuprofen in the third trimester might inhibit labor or a decrease in the amniotic fluid. It`s, therefore, recommended for this drug to be administrated in the last trimester of pregnancy only after the doctor`s approval. Many specialists have included this medication in a group of medications allowed during breastfeeding. The drug reaches the breast milk in a very low amount. – Visit here!
Is it Ok to Take Aspirin during Pregnancy?
High doses of aspirin may cause bleeding in both the mother and baby after birth, they may cause fetal growth restriction or even the baby`s death. Small aspirin doses seem to be safe while pregnant, but it`s safer to avoid using this drug if it wasn`t prescribed by your doctor. There are various situations where aspirin is used during pregnancy under close medical care in the attempt of preventing blood pressure or preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is defined by hypertension and protein traces in urine or hand and feet swelling during pregnancy around the week 20. It`s also defined by a sudden weight gain in the third trimester of pregnancy. In a more severe form, preeclampsia may cause kidney blockage, stroke, liver poisoning, cardiac arrest and death. This medical condition is among the most frequent causes which may lead to the death of the expecting mother.
Is it Ok Medications for Diarrhea during Pregnancy?
If you experience diarrhea, not only that it isn`t ok, but it may be advised to take medications against it to avoid dehydration. If you get dehydrated while pregnant, your blood won`t be able to circulate normally towards the organs and placenta, and you may need hospitalization. If diarrhea is indeed severe and your stool is accompanied by blood, you should call your doctor immediately.
Is it Ok to Take Drugs against Cold while Pregnant?
Specific drugs are ok to be taken while pregnant, but only with prescription and your doctor`s approval, while other ones are completely forbidden. The medications that should be avoided entirely are antivirals (Tamflu and Relenza). Pseudoephedrine isn`t recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy!
Flu vaccination is recommended while pregnant after the week 14 of pregnancy. According to the latest studies, schizophrenia in children who mothers got flu during the first 3 months of pregnancy quite frequent. Later, after the third month of pregnancy, the illness may lead to premature birth. In order to avoid possible complications during pregnancy, experts recommend expecting mothers to vaccinate themselves just in case before trying to become pregnant.