Are Over The Counter Medicines Safe In Pregnancy?

Over the counter medication is commonly used by pregnant women to deal with nagging aches, pains, sudden allergies or a bad bout of cold. Most of these medicines have good safety standards but there are some that should only be taken under the recommendation of a doctor. These medicines need to be administered by checking the gestational age of the foetus because if taken otherwise, might lead to certain birth defects that you would definitely want to avoid at any cost.

Which Of These Medicines Are Safe And Which Are Not So Safe? Learn More By Reading Below:

1. Pain Reliever

Acetaminophen is the pain reliever of choice of most health practitioners because of the research backed studies that show remote effects on foetus or mother when used during pregnancy. The drug class it belongs it is a non-narcotic analgesic and antipyretic1. Aspirin is also commonly taken for pain relief but in pregnancy, it should not be recommended except under special conditions determined by the doctor. Other common pain relievers like Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen and Naproxen should also be used only under the recommendation of the doctor and should be commonly avoided during the third trimester.

2. Decongestants, Expectorants, Antihistamines

Most health practitioners would not recommend any medicine if you have caught a cold in pregnancy until and unless it tends to get worse over time. Most doctors would advise saline nasal sprays to get rid of an uncomfortably stuffy nose. Nasal sprays containing oxymetazoline are also recommended by physicians to pregnant women in case they need decongestants, because an insignificant amount of the drug is absorbed by the body. If you have a dry cough and you were thinking of getting a cough syrup that contains codeine, try avoiding it. Your doctor might instead suggest a cough suppressant containing dextromethorphan in case if you have a bad cough that interferes with your sleep and appetite. Antihistamines containing chlorpheniramine have been studied to have no adverse effects on the foetus and are also considered quite safe to tackle allergies.

3. Indigestion

Heartburn, reflux and bloating are common problems associated with pregnancy, especially in the first trimester and if you tend to get a burning sensation every now and then, you will definitely want quick remedies for it but the safest ways to handle reflux and indigestion are to eat small and frequent meals, avoid spicy food and caffeinated beverages.

If you still continue to have heartburn and symptoms of reflux, you could consult your doctor instead of reaching out for the nearest over the counter antacid. He would suggest safer antacids that contain calcium carbonate or the ones that contain sucralfate. These will be safer to use during pregnancy.

To sum it all up, it is never completely safe to have OTC medicines in pregnancy without consulting a doctor because you never know how your body might react to it and you surely don’t want to deal with new problems when you are already facing common pregnancy discomforts. If your symptoms worsen or become chronic, your doctor would know better which medicines to be administered so that you feel better very soon.

Reference:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antipyretic