Just because we are carrying a human life and will one day birth it does not mean we are superwoman! We are still human, and during those 9 precious months when we are carrying our baby, we are just as prone to ailments as anyone else. Actually, we are more prone to falling ill because being pregnant automatically lessens our immune system. So, what is a pregnant mama to do when she gets a cold or the flu? What medication can she take to relieve her symptoms and make her feel just a little better?
The common answer to that would be nothing, that it is best for a mom-to-be to just forego any and all medications while she is pregnant. That may be the best option, but it is just not always possible. Women still have to go to work, or care for older children when they are pregnant they need something that will at least help them through the illness, help them deal with all the symptoms.
Just to put a disclaimer here that a woman should really talk to her OB about any and all medications that she should take when pregnant. This is not to replace medical advice. With that being said, there are certain medications that moms should always avoid, it is just not worth the risk. It can be tricky, because many people think that if the medication is over-the-counter, then it must be safe for everyone to take. That’s not entirely true, so we have comprised a list of 10 medications mom-to-be needs to stay away from, and 5 that are completely fine.
15 Aspirin Is A Big No-No!
Aspirin is one of the most common over-the-counter (OTC) medications that you can find, and many would think that this would mean it is safe to take while pregnant. This is one medication that needs to be avoided at all costs when expecting as it can cause some serious harm. If you take aspirin around the time of conception or in early pregnancy, it can cause miscarriage.
To avoid this happening by mistake, stop using Aspirin when you start trying to have a baby. This will ensure that you do not take it when you conceive and before you know that you are actually pregnant. If you have taken it once or twice, chances are your baby is fine. The concern is when women take regular and full adult doses. The only time it is safe (and prescribed) to take aspirin is if the woman has a condition that makes her more prone to developing blood clots. Aspirin works as a blood thinner, so it will help this problem.
14 If You Thought Advil Was Safe…
OK, so we know that you can’t take Aspirin when pregnant, but what about Advil? That has to be safe right? No, it’s not. Advil is another medication on the ‘do not take’ list. Advil is a form of ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and should also not be taken when pregnant. Ibuprofen is also found in Motrin, so steer clear of that one as well. The risks for those who take Advil are very similar to those that accompany Aspirin.
The use of an ibuprofen during pregnancy can affect your baby’s growth and can increase your risk of getting placental abruption. Placental abruption is when the placenta separates from the uterus. This can have dangerous, sometimes fatal, consequences. It can also delay labour and increase the chance of your baby developing heart and lung problems after he/she is born. These risks are why a lot of people just advise pregnant women to ‘suck it up’ when they are sick and not take anything.
13 You Will Just Have To Deal With The Acne
One of the negative effects of pregnancy is acne. It is one of the least preferred symptoms of pregnancy, and it is not just limited to your face. Women claim to have acne pop up all over their body, and if they had acne concerns before they were pregnant it is likely to get worse. Unfortunately, you may just have to deal with the acne for a little while, because any medication that is used to treat acne is not safe to take while pregnant.
The specific medication is known as Isotretinoin, and its mostly used form is called Accutane. Any medication that contains Isotretinoin should not be used when trying to conceive or when pregnant because there are serious risks of birth control. If your acne is too much for you to handle, you could talk to your medical doctor about possibly alternatives or stick to face washes and wipes.
12 Thalomid Is Off Limits
One of the problems with medication and all things to do with the medical world is that it contains a lot of big words that we have a hard time understanding. Thalomid is another medication that you do not want to take when you are pregnant. Thalomid is not a medication that is taken too commonly, as it is normally used to treat certain skin diseases. However, it is one of the most dangerous medications on our list.
Even by taking one single dose of Thalomid when pregnant can cause some big problems. It can cause severe birth defects, as well as death of the infant. Chances are that if you are on this medication, your doctor will advise you to discontinue use if you are even thinking about trying to get pregnant. They will prescribe you a different medication to take, or possibly talk about other treatment plans for you.
11 Vitamins (Prenatal Is Fine)
When we say that vitamins are not good to take when pregnant, we are not talking about prenatal vitamins. Those are essential and should be taken by women who are expecting. They are crucial for the normal and healthy growth and development of your little baby. Not all vitamins are created equal, and other forms of vitamins can be very harmful when taken while pregnant.
Many think that vitamins are fine, but that is not true because too much of anything is a bad thing. For example, if mom receives too much vitamin A when pregnant she runs the risk of having a baby that is born with birth defects. You don’t have to worry about natural vitamins that are found in food, as they are not at a level that can cause harm. Your prenatal will contain all the nutrients and minerals you need so there is no need to supplement with any other form of multivitamin.
10 Just Say No To Lithium
Lithium sounds more like a scientific element than it does a medication, but that should indicate to you if this is a good thing to take when pregnant. The answer is no, Lithium should not be taken when pregnant or when trying to conceive. Lithium is a medication that is given to women who need help stabilizing their moods, or women who are bipolar. It is a common medication to take if you are living with mental health illnesses.
The problem is that Lithium is known to cause pretty specific deformities for an unborn baby. It attacks the heart specifically and can prevent it from developing properly. This can mean that your baby could be born in need of major heart surgery, or the baby may not live very long after birth. Talk to your doctor, if you are planning to get pregnant, about ways to manage your mental health while pregnant. There will still be help there for you.
9 Ventolin Has To Go
This one is kind of in a grey area of if the harm outweighs the benefits. Ventolin is a medication that is taken to help control asthma and asthma attacks. Any medication that is used to control asthma is a steroid medication, which has been known to be dangerous for women who are pregnant. What makes this scary is that danger is not fully known yet on what this could do to a growing fetus.
The reason it is a grey area, is because having an asthma attack while pregnant is also dangerous to the baby and should not be taken lightly. It is best to have a good conversation with your doctor if you have asthma and are planning on becoming pregnant, as there may be some great alternatives for you to take to help control your breathing. This is especially important if your pregnancy lands in a season that is known to cause your asthma to flare up.
8 You Will Need Another Remedy For That Itch!
Yeast infections are not completely uncommon when a woman is pregnant. One of the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy is a high amount of vaginal discharge. This is due to all the hormones that are coursing through a woman’s body. All of this can lead to yeast infections, and only a woman could understand how uncomfortable this can be. Fluconazole is a medication that is often prescribed for women who have a yeast infection. It is an oral medication that helps to clear up the infection as well take away any discomfort.
The effects of it are unknown. There is little evidence to show that a single dose will do any harm to the baby, but the studies are just not there yet. When a medication does not have enough research to determine its safety, it is always advised to avoid it unless absolutely necessary. It is best to speak to your doctor to decide if there is another route you could take, or if this is absolutely necessary.
7 Naproxen A.K.A Aleve
A lot of people love Aleve and rely on it to get through the day. It is a well-known pain reliever, and it lasts up to 12 hours, which is a lot longer than most medications of its kind. This is another medication that mom-to-be will have to avoid when she is expecting. Unfortunately, use of Aleve when pregnant can cause a woman to miscarry her baby. It is ranked as dangerous as Advil.
If a woman is having any form of pain when pregnant, she should speak to her doctor. A lot of the time, the pain and discomfort can be directly linked to the pregnancy and there are dozens of more natural and calmer ways to take the pain away. Heating packs, warm baths and massages are all ways to manage most discomfort in pregnancy. If you need an OTC medication, you probably notice one that I have not put on the do not take list.
6 Pepto Bismol Is Abysmal!
We all know the catchy commercials, with the jingle about all the ailments you could have and how it can all be fixed with Pepto Bismol. This pink liquid medication should be avoided when pregnant as it could cause some complications. If taken near the end of your pregnancy, it could start some pretty serious bleeding. There are reports that it is fine to take in the beginning of your pregnancy, but it should still be avoided if possible.
A lot of people rely on Pepto Bismol to help them manage their heartburn. Heartburn is very uncomfortable, and it can be almost too much to bear when a woman is pregnant. There are a lot of other alternatives to help with the heartburn. Sometimes, simply drinking a glass of milk will help calm down the heartburn. If you absolutely need to take an OTC medication, you can trust TUMS to help you. Those are perfectly safe to take when pregnant.
5 Tylenol Is Your Go-To
Now that we have told you everything that you can not take when pregnant, we have 5 medications that you can definitely take with confidence when you are expecting. If you experience aches and pains and the occasional headache when pregnant, and you are thinking that all of your go-to pain relievers were just taken off the list, you can still take Tylenol.
Tylenol is considered a safe medication when expecting and can be used to relieve all your common aches and pains when you are carrying a precious bundle. It is the most common form of medication that is used when pregnant, and hundreds of pregnant women across North America take it every day. Even if a medication is deemed safe for use, it should still be used in moderation, and after all other alternatives have been tried. It is also always a good idea to mention to your doctor that you are taking Tylenol so that it could be on your record.
4 Benadryl Is Your Friend
Allergy season is no fun for anyone. If you suffer from hay fever, even walking outside can be too much to take. Not a good thing when you should be getting all the fresh air you can get now. Not to mention that allergies are fickle creatures, they decide when to pop up. You can spend your whole life eating something and be fine, and then one day your face starts swelling up. Pretty scary. So, what can you keep in your medicine cabinet in case you ever need anything to help ease your irritation? Benadryl.
Benadryl is one of the safest medications you can take when it comes to allergies, and it will likely be the first one your doctor recommends to you when you explain that you need something to give you some relief when pregnant. If you ever have an allergic reaction, especially to food, when pregnant it is always good to call your OB or even visit your local hospital if necessary. Food allergies are nothing to joke around with, so it is always better safe than sorry.
3 Have A Sore Throat? We Have You Covered
The common cold will always be around, and some people can catch a cold multiple times a year. It is normally not something to worry about, they will all pass on their own. When you are pregnant, it can be adding even more discomfort to a situation that already has you wanting to stay in bed. One of the worst symptoms of a cold is a sore throat. The sharp, stabbing pain whenever you try to swallow can be too much to bare, and can force you to stop eating.
Cold medicines are not generally advised to take when pregnant, however you can take cough drops. Your common cough drops are perfectly safe to consume when pregnant and cause no harm to the baby. It may seem like a small relief, but it may be one of the best reliefs. The best way to get over the common cold is to drink lots of fluids and get some rest. Of course, you can take Tylenol if a fever decides to show its face.
2 Metamucil Will Help
There are many side effects of being pregnant that are anything but a walk in the park. One of the worst is constipation. A woman gets constipated very easily when pregnant and that is all due to the hormones running through her body. It stops the bowels from moving as fast as they did before. If mom is further on in her pregnancy, the constipation could be due to the baby placing pressure on her bowel.
One of the best ways to avoid constipation is to eat more fiber. However, if mom can not fathom eating another piece of broccoli, she may want to run over to the pharmacy to find some relief. Whatever you do, do NOT take laxatives. These are very dangerous when pregnant. You can take Metamucil. Metamucil is a powder that you mix into a glass of water and drink. It has fiber which makes stool softer and a lot easier to pass. You can also speak to your doctor about any safe stool softeners you can take it you are ever really suffering.
1 Imodium (But There Is A Rule)
Just to cover all of our bases, we are going to talk about stool that may be too soft, causing diarrhea. If you are an expecting woman, chances are your life is still going on around you. This means that you do not have time to deal with any fast runs to the bathroom every ten minutes. What causes stool to be too soft? You guessed it, hormones. That panicky feeling that you need to get to a bathroom NOW is never fun for anyone, but there is a medication for it.
Imodium is a safe medication to take while pregnant, but there is a rule. Imodium should be completely avoided until the end of the first trimester. What makes Imodium good for you but pepto not is the lack of the ingredient bismuth subsalicylate. Bismuth subsalicylate is the ingredient that can cause serious health problems to your unborn baby and should be avoided. Since Imodium does not contain that, you should be good to go.
Sources: webmd.com, rxwiki.com, babycentre.co.uk, livestrong.com, healthline.com, consumerreports.org