Top 10 Questions About Medications During Pregnancy
Our resident RN has answers to help you find safe ways to cure what ails you, without hurting Baby.
Can I Take Aspirin during Pregnancy?
Most doctors recommend that if you need to take something for pain relief, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is probably the best choice. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and other drugs like Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen), known as NSAIDS (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), are generally a no-no while you are pregnant. There may be some women, who under the guidance of their cardiologist and obstetrician, may need to take low doses of aspirin for a cardiac condition or for conditions that may affect blood clotting. Always check with your doctor first.
Are Antibiotics OK to take during Pregnancy?
Medications are assigned a pregnancy rating by the FDA to assist your doctor in making good choices for you and your baby. The safest medications fall under the A and B categories, while drugs in category C have slightly more risk, backed by results found through studies with animals. Drugs that are category D and X are definitely contraindicated. Generally avoiding medications in the first trimester is highly advised.
Urinary tract infections or vaginal infections are cause for more concern because they can affect the health of you and your baby. There are antibiotics that fall under the B category and the C category which may be safe for you to use. Your doctor will help to determine what the best course of action, depending on what type of infection you have and where you are in your pregnancy.
Should I Continue to Take My Antidepressant?
The biggest risk of taking medication while
trying to become pregnant or during pregnancy is because of the possible effects it may have on your baby. Studies are limited and not as comprehensive as they could be due to the ethics of testing medications on pregnant women. Most clinicians agree that if a woman has been on
medication for major depression, it should be carefully discussed before taking her off the drug. In a risk/benefit analysis, most healthcare providers agree it is best for her to continue with the medication if possible. If the depression is minor and can be treated with psychotherapy or counseling, that may be the best route to take.
Can I Take Anything to Alleviate My Springtime Allergies?
Many women find that
allergy symptoms feel worse during pregnancy. And some women who never had allergies, suddenly have a runny or stuffy nose shortly after becoming pregnant. Yet another symptom of pregnancy that many women experience is nasal stuffiness and congestion. Avoiding allergens in the first place is best, but for many whose allergies are worse, simply walking out the front door can bring on a runny nose! Using a nasal saline spray or neti pot can help to keep your nose clear. All medication are best used
after the first trimester. Drugs that many OBs feel comfortable recommending after the first trimester include: Benadryl, Actifed, Chlortrimeton, Claritin, and Sudafed.
Can I Take a Laxative for My Constipation?
Constipation can be on the list of symptoms that many women experience during pregnancy. The two most common reasons your intestinal tract can become sluggish is
due to hormones and
prenatal vitamins. The best recommendations are to
increase your water and fiber intake and bump up your exercise routine, too. Exercise can help your circulation and get things moving.
You might also talk to your doctor to see if it is appropriate for you to take a prenatal vitamin with less iron. If these changes don’t help, the two best choices would be a stool softener like Colace (docusate) or a very mild laxative like Milk of Magnesia. Stronger laxatives with stimulants can cause cramping and can sometimes irritate your uterus, which can cause contractions. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have troubles resolving this very uncomfortable situation.
I Have a Cold, What Can I Safely Take?
Sounds like something our grandmother might have said. And during pregnancy, avoiding medications and instead trying safe alternatives is always optimal. The best course of action: rest, hydrate, use saline sprays or a neti pot for your nose, and gargle with salt water for a sore throat. You can also use throat lozenges or tea with honey. Acetaminophen is a safe choice for headaches or aches and pains that may accompany the flu or a cold. You can also take (best after first trimester): Sudafed, Actifed, Benadryl, and Robitussin DM. Avoid multi-symptom medications, which may have ingredients that might hurt Baby.
I Need Some Dental Work, But Is It Safe?
It is important to maintain good oral health during your pregnancy, so keeping up with cleaning and exams is important. Many women will notice gum tenderness and swelling and may see some bleeding when brushing her teeth. If you need fillings or a root canal, it is optimal to try to have the work done during the second trimester. During the first trimester, your baby is in a crucial stage of development. The size of your baby during the third trimester will make it uncomfortable and dangerous to lay on your back for the procedure. The minimal use of numbing medication or anesthesia is important. Lidocaine (used to numb your gums) is a category B medication. Bleaching or cosmetic procedures should be put off until after pregnancy.
Can I Get a Flu Shot, Or Will It Hurt My Baby?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women receive the flu vaccine. Pregnancy can overload your immune system and may make you more susceptible to getting sick. A recent CDC study reports that 25 out of every 10,000 women who become ill with the flu will become sick enough to require hospitalization. Strengthening your immune system helps, too. Remember to get plenty of rest and exercise, and eat a healthy diet.
Can I Use A Cream to Care for a Rash?
A rash can be itchy and uncomfortable—the good news is you can use topical creams like hydrocortisone or Benadryl (dipenhydramine) to help relieve symptoms. Be sure to check in with your doctor to determine the cause of the rash (or if the itching becomes severe).
I'm Having Troubles Sleeping, Can I Take a Sleeping Pill?
As with any decision during pregnancy, talk with your doctor about what is best for your particular situation, but in general it is best to avoid sleeping pills. Some research has detected traces of Ambien (a popular sleeping remedy) in a baby’s umbilical cord. Ambien is also considered a category C drug (meaning that tests in animals have shown some risk).
It seems that old-fashioned sleep remedies works best for pregnant women: Avoid stimulating activity such as television or computer use before bed. Try taking a warm bath or shower to relax. Make sure your room is conducive to sleep: dim the lights, create a quiet environment, make sure the room is a comfortable temperature, and use pillows for support.
YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN