By Dr. Sarah G. Khan, a retail pharmacist and resident pharmacist at DietsInReview.com.
By this point in your life, you probably know what to take when you get the sniffles. When you’re pregnant, it’s a whole different ballgame. Many mommies-to-be are nervous about the kinds of medications they can take, while some will go without entirely and just grin and bear it.
I am an advocate to any pregnant women because I don’t think anyone should have to suffer if there are treatment options available. Your obstetrician, or OB, will provide you with a list but it’s probably not all inclusive. My OB gave me a list and I found that there were lots of things I could add that would be safe.
When I recommend something it’s important for me to know what pregnancy category it is. There are five different pregnancy categories: A,B,C,D and X.
Category A is shown to be safe in humans and animals. It’s not very common because clinical trials are normally not conducted in pregnant women to determine safety.
Category B is what most drugs fall under and are safe in the animals they are tested on.
Category C is only to be given if the benefit of being on the drug outweighs the potential risk it could have to the fetus.
Categories D and X are the two categories that will mostly likely have risks and effect the mom or fetus.
Personally, I always recommend Bs, but encourage you to contact your OB if you want to take something from category C. Most pharmacists would call even if your doctor sent us a prescription that is category C. We like to be extra cautious with the precious cargo you have on board!
A pregnant woman’s immune system is weaker because it is trying to protect the child from infection. It’s almost like you are creating a germ-free cocoon around your growing bump.
So, now you’re sneezing up a storm, congested and full of mucus. Most people don’t think you can take allergy medication for cold relief while pregnant, but an antihistamine like Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine) is going to help with sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Benadryl is a great choice for night time with the added bonus of making you drowsy and helping you sleep.
For congestion, Sudafed or saline nasal spray would help, but you want to make sure to not take the Sudafed too close to bedtime as it will keep you awake.
For a cough, plain Robitussin containing guaifenisin is safe, but is a category C. It will help get the mucus out but will not suppress the cough. Cough drops are OK to use also. If you are having difficulty breathing, don’t call your OB to see if you should go to the ER, just go.
If you wonder if something is safe to take, I would recommend calling your pharmacy first instead of your OB, but keep your doctor in the loop as to what you are taking. You will get a quicker response from the pharmacy, but they doctor has your full medical history and may object to the pharmacist’s recommendations.