From cold and cough to hemorrhoid and nausea, we break down safe OTC medications to take while pregnant.

It’s the dead of winter and you can’t sleep, because you’re 7 months pregnant and your baby has decided to be nocturnal. You know you need sleep, because lack of good rest inhibits your immune system. This stresses you out, because your spouse has a nasty cold, and you’d rather avoid it.

Your spouse is resting peacefully in the guest room because he has a plethora of over-the-counter medications at his disposal.

But not you. You’re pregnant, and your OTC medicine choices are extremely limited. So, you hope to stay healthy amid the stress and discomfort of pregnancy. Not to mention it’s cold and flu season.

Then, you realize. Your nose is running. Your sinuses feel clogged. You’re getting sick.

Your first instinct is to want to grab those great medications your spouse is taking. But you know you have to be careful. 

In no time, you’re miserable with symptoms of the common cold. You’re desperate for relief, but you know the safety of your baby is paramount.

Advanced Women’s Healthcare is here to help with a comprehensive list of safe over-the-counter medications to take during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor for the best personalized choices for you.

Pregnant women: Don’t forget to get your flu shot at AWH Dallas!

Safe Cough and Sore Throat Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Honey
  • Dextromethorphan or Dextromethorphan-guaifenesin, such as Robitussin and Robitussin DM. 120 mg in 24 hours
  • Nasal drops or sprays
  • Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, for aches, pains, sore throat and fever
  • Salt water gargling 
  • Menthol rub on chest, temples and under the nose
  • Chloraseptic spray
  • Nasal strips (sticky pads applied to outside of nose to open congested airways)
  • Cough drops or lozenges containing benzocaine
  • Expectorant during the day
  • Plain cough syrup

Cough and Flu Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Aspirin (Bayer)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
  • Codeine
  • Bactrim, an antibiotic

Safe Allergy Remedies During Pregnancy

  • “Oral antihistamines, like cetirizine (Zyrtec), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra), and loratadine (Claritin) seem to be safe. So does cromolyn sodium (Nasalcrom) nasal spray and the steroid nasal spray Rhinocort,” according to Web MD.
  • Allergy shots: If you took allergy shots before pregnancy, your doctor might recommend you continue taking them. But do not start them while pregnant. 
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) 30-60 mg every 4-6 hours can be used in the second and third trimesters in women without gestational hypertension. Avoid use in the first trimester and with breastfeeding. Sudafed PE (Phenylephidrine) should be avoided because of its uncertain efficacy and safety in pregnancy.

Allergy Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Decongestants: During your first trimester, don’t take decongestants by mouth, according to Web MD. Decongestants may make some birth defects more likely. Watch out for antihistamines combined with a decongestant. Because there’s not enough evidence for their safety, avoid antihistamine nasal sprays. 
  • Mucinex, Mucinex D, Mucinex DM, and the extra-strength versions of each, because the six forms of Mucinex contain guaifenesin. Avoid taking any of these during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, they may be safe to use during later trimesters. Ask your doctor.

Safe Constipation Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Metamucil, Citracel, Fibercon, Benefiber 
  • Stool softeners colace (Docusate),1 tablet 2-3 times a day, pericolace (Docusate + Sennosides),1 tablet 1-3 times a day
  • Laxatives such as Milk of Magnesia, Correctal, Fleets enema and Miralax
  • Imodium liquid or capsules for diarrhea
  • Psyllium, which is the basic ingredient in Konsyl and Metamucil
  • Colace

Safe Diarrhea Remedies During Pregnancy

Medical News Today says, “Imodium is an effective OTC medication for treating short-term diarrhea. 

“However, the ACG do not recommend taking the antidiarrheal medications diphenoxylate-atropine (Lomotil) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) during pregnancy.”

Kaopectate is also unsafe to take during pregnancy.

Safe Headache Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Tylenol

Safe Heartburn and Gas Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Gas-X
  • Maalox Anti-Gas
  • Mylanta Gas
  • Mylicon
  • Maalox
  • Mylanta
  • Rolaids
  • Tums
  • Famotidine (Pepcid)
  • Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Sucralfate (Carafate)
  • Simethicone
  • Gaviscon 

Safe Hemorrhoid Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Preparation H
  • Tucks pads
  • Glycerine, petroleum jelly or witch hazel-based hemorrhoid creams
  • Avoid constipation by consuming plenty of water and fiber. 

Safe Nausea Remedies During Pregnancy

  • Antihistamines for allergies, Doxylamine (Unisom), Zofran (by prescription only) 
  • Dramamine 
  • Emetrol
  • Ginger and peppermint teas in moderation
  • Sea sickness bands
  • Calcium-carbonate (Mylanta, Tums) or similar medications for heartburn, nausea or upset stomach

Safe Yeast Infection Remedies During Pregnancy

The American Pregnancy Association recommends vaginal creams and suppositories but warns that not all are safe during pregnancy. So, consult your doctor. Most likely, your doctor will recommend:

  • Clotrimazole (Mycelex, Lotrimin AF) 
  • Miconazole (Monistat 3)
  • Terconazole 


It may feel like navigating a minefield to understand which medications are safe to take during pregnancy, but the efforts become worth it when you meet your healthy baby for the first time. Be careful and consciousness with over-the-counter medications during pregnancy, and ask your doctor if you have any questions. And remember to get your flu shot from your AWH Dallas practitioner.

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