is it Safe to Use Cough Medication During Pregnancy ?

Cough Medication During Pregnancy
Cough Medication During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, you become more sensitive to smells and tastes. Everything you eat is amplified, which means your sensitivity to smells and tastes also extends to the flavors of cough syrup or any other over-the-counter medications you might want to take when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re pregnant, any medication comes with a risk for your baby. As such, it is best to talk with your healthcare provider before taking any medication. However, if you do need to take some kind of medicine during your third trimester (or earlier in your pregnancy), some are safer than others. In general, most home remedies will help ease your symptoms and get rid of that nasty tickle in the back of your throat much faster than drinking water or eating popsicles will. However, as with anything else we consume while pregnant, there are some safer options than others…

What is the Safest Cough Medication to Take During Pregnancy?

The safest cough medication to take during pregnancy is decongestants. These over-the-counter medications will shrink your swollen mucous membranes and help you breathe more easily. Cough suppressants come in many forms, including syrups, gels, lozenges, and sprays. They are not recommended for pregnant women because they may cause drowsiness and have a higher risk of side effects. Cough syrups and gels, which contain ingredients such as codeine or dextromethorphan, are also not recommended. While codeine is also an ingredient in many prescription cough suppressants, it is too dangerous to take while pregnant.

Always be careful when selecting cough medicines and being pregnant. Some are considered safe for pregnant women, and some are not.

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When you look at the ingredients of cough medicines, most contain 2 or more active ingredients. It’s possible to buy these separately. These active ingredients help several symptoms. They contain:

  • Antihistamines (They may cause sleepiness.)
  • Antitussive drugs will soothe coughs by acting on the cough receptors (the sensitive tissue between your throat and lungs).
  • Expectorants: helps mucus eject from your lungs.
  • Decongestants reduce the swelling in your nose.
  • Analgesics relieve pain.

Always keep in mind while you’re pregnant:

  1. Drugs are never 100% safe. Consult your doctor before taking any kind of medication.
  2. It may not be necessary to take any kind of combined drug.
  3. Always read directions and follow them. Never take more than the recommended amounts. It may be a better idea to do without any medication at all during your first trimester. This is when your body and baby as well are more vulnerable to the bad effects of drugs and medications.
  4. Antihistamines chlorpheniramine, loratadine, doxylamine, pheniramine, diphenhydramine, and other drugs are considered the safest for pregnant women. Talk to your doctor about medications containing these ingredients, and if they will help you cure a cough.
  5. You’ll only want to use Mucolytic drugs (anti-mucus drugs and medications), in either your second or third trimester, not your first.
  6. In your pharmacy, you may find medicinal herbal breast tea. It consists of plantain leaves, chamomile, mint, licorice root, coltsfoot, and other types. However always remember that some contraindications for this such as idiosyncrasy of certain parts.

Always allow your doctor to guide you in how to use medications when trying to get rid of a cough. The amount of medication should be watched closely.

Decongestants: Are They Safe for Pregnant Women?

Decongestants are safe for pregnant women because they work on a different parts of your body. They shrink and open up the inflamed membranes in your nose and mouth, and your sinuses get back to their regular size much more quicker. On the other hand, expectorants like cough syrups and cough gels work by helping you cough up that mucus and clearing your airway. They open the airways, but they also make you produce more mucus. Decongestants are the better choice because they shrink those membranes in your nose and mouth, which helps you breathe better. Some expectorants contain ingredients such as codeine and dextromethorphan, which are not safe during pregnancy.

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The Safest Cough Medications During Pregnancy

If you’ve concluded that you need to take some kind of medication to help you get through your pregnancy, take a look at the ingredients list. Cough syrups and gels, which contain ingredients such as codeine or dextromethorphan, are the most dangerous ones to take. However, cough suppressants that contain these ingredients are safer for you and your baby. Cough syrups and gels that contain guaifenesin or hydrocodone are safer to take.

Codeine and Other Opioids: Are They Safe During Pregnancy?

While most opioids are dangerous to take during pregnancy because of the potential for withdrawal in your baby, codeine is an exception. Cough syrups and gels that contain codeine are not recommended because they may cause drowsiness. Nevertheless, if you’re suffering from a persistent cough, your healthcare provider may decide to prescribe a cough suppressant with codeine. Your healthcare provider will prescribe you a very small dose of codeine, but it is important to take it exactly as prescribed. Otherwise, it may cause your baby to develop withdrawal symptoms.

Which Medications are NOT Safe During Pregnancy?

Most cough suppressants are not safe during pregnancy since they may cause drowsiness. Pregnant women should opt for cough syrups and gels that contain guaifenesin or hydrocodone instead. Cough syrups and gels that contain dextromethorphan or diphenhydramine are also not recommended.

Dayquil and Nyquil

Dayquil and Nyquil are over-the-counter cold and flu medications that are typically used to ease flu symptoms and stuffiness. They contain acetaminophen and dextromethorphan, which are both ingredients that may not be safe for pregnant women. Unfortunately, there are no specific warnings or precautions for pregnant women on the box or label of these medications, so there’s no way to know for sure. If you’re pregnant, don’t take Dayquil or Nyquil unless you can talk to your doctor first.

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Tylenol Cold & Flu

There are two versions of Tylenol’s cold and flu medication: one with codeine and one without. While the one without codeine is safer for pregnant women, it contains several ingredients that are not recommended. Those ingredients are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and phenylephrine.


Benadryl is an antihistamine that is commonly used to treat allergies, allergic reactions, and hives, but it can also be used to help your cough go away. Unfortunately, Benadryl is not safe for pregnant women because it contains too much of a chemical called diphenhydramine. You should speak with your healthcare provider before taking Benadryl.

Robitussin DM and other DM Medications

Many cough syrups are made specifically for colds and flu, but some cough syrups are made for coughs. Robitussin DM is cough syrup. Unfortunately, most DM medications are not recommended for pregnant women because they contain dextromethorphan, which is dangerous. You should avoid Robitussin DM and other DM medications during pregnancy, but some DM medications are safe.

Summing up

You may think that you can tough it out and tough it out, but there is no reason to suffer from a nasty cough. Cough syrups and gels that contain guaifenesin or hydrocodone are the safest options during pregnancy. If you do need to take cough syrup, make sure you follow the directions carefully and only take the amount recommended.

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