If you’re pregnant, you might be wondering if you can reach for your go-to pain reliever for a headache. Or any cold medicine when you feel congested. But the reality is not all medications are safe to take during pregnancy. And it’s one of the many things you should ask your doctor about. But for a general list of medications you can take while pregnant, we talked to Dr. Alexander Chiang, an OB-GYN at UCLA.
Which medicine can I take while pregnant?
Got a headache, heartburn, or allergies? You should have a conversation with your doctor about your specific pregnancy to double check before you take anything. Because medications you take may pass through the placenta and affect your baby. The good news is, there are typically plenty of OTC medications you can take while pregnant. Here’s what you can typically reach for:
Pregnancy-safe pain relievers
Advil (ibuprofen) for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy
Motrin (ibuprofen) for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy
Aleve (naproxen) for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy
Pregnancy-safe allergy medications
Pregnancy-safe cold and flu medications
Saline nasal rinses (nasal spray or nose drops)
Menthol rubs (like Vicks Vaporub)
Pregnancy-safe heartburn medications
Tums (calcium carbonate)
Titralac (calcium carbonate)
Mylanta (calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, simethicone)
Pregnancy-safe sleep aids
Pregnancy-safe stomach and digestion medications
Miralax (polyethylene glycol)
PS: We made a printable and downloadable version of this list for you here. Feel free to screenshot it or print it out and put it on your refrigerator.
Which vitamins and supplements can I take while pregnant?
Your doctor may have you take prenatal vitamins, which are multivitamins that contain many of the nutrients you need. And you may not need anything additional. So be sure to run any supplements by your doctor before taking them — especially because supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA as medications. Here is what’s generally safe to take:
Emergen-C (vitamin C)
Which medications/supplements are not safe to take while pregnant?
If you've got any of the following in your medicine cabinet, experts say you'll want to steer clear of 'em for the next few months.
NyQuil (phenylephrine and alcohol)
Sudafed (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride)
What about prescription meds?
Your doctor knows best. If you’re on prescription medications — for anxiety, depression, ADHD, or anything else — ask your doc if you can keep taking them during pregnancy. And if you’re trying to get pregnant, Dr. Chiang recommends having a “preconception consultation” with your doctor to “go through all your questions, your medical history, and the medications that you're on.”
Pregnancy changes so much about your life — from the things you can eat, to what you wear, to the medications you can take. When it comes to you and your baby’s health, it’s OK (and a good idea) to question everything. And always ask your doctor first.
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