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Warning: These OTC Medications Can Hurt Your Unborn Baby

When you’re pregnant, you’re worried about pretty much everything. What foods do you have to avoid? What activities can you safely participate in? What can you do to ensure that your unborn baby is as healthy as possible?

But have you spent any time researching what over-the-counter medications you need to avoid?

First, we’re going to discuss the various medications you should avoid, and then we’ll talk about the medications that are A-OK to take while you have that cute little bun in the oven.

Stay Away from These Drugs!

  • Full-strength aspirin (especially in your last trimester) – This could increase bleeding tendencies for both you and your unborn baby.
  • Anacin Analgesic Tablets, Excedrin Extra-Strength – These both contain both aspirin and caffeine and should be avoided.
  • NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) – Avoid these drugs during your last trimester, as they could have similar affects as aspirin.
  • Nose sprays including oxymetazoline such as Afrin, Coricidin Decongestant Nasal Mist, Vicks Sinex Long-Acting Decongestant, and Duration 12-Hour Nasal Spray.
  • Stay away from cold remedies that contain alcohol!
  • Avoid the decongestants phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine, as they can affect the blood flow to the placenta.
  • Before you try out any herbal remedies, talk to your doctor. Some herbal supplements have ingredients that could be dangerous to your baby.
  • OTC sleeping pills containing antihistamines such as Excedrin P.M., Sleep-Eze, and Sominex.

Use of These Medications is Okay

  • Acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) – This is the best choice when it comes to pain relief while pregnant. However, use it with caution, as research has shown that some pregnant women in their second and third trimesters who took acetaminophen after the 20th week of pregnancy possibly increased the risk of babies wheezing.
  • For allergies: Benadryl, Claritin – But be sure to check with your doctor before taking these medications in your first trimester.
  • For colds: Alka-Seltzer Plus, Dimetapp, Robitussin-CF, Triaminic, Sudafed, and Vicks NyQuil.
  • Saline nose drops or spray
  • For constipation: Colace, Metamucil
  • For rashes: Benadryl cream, Caladryl lotion or cream, Hydrocortisone cream or ointment
  • For heartburn and upset stomach: Maalox, Rolaids, Tums, Gas-X, Mylanta.
  • For diarrhea: Kaopectate, Imodium A-D.

But, if you’re ever in doubt about what medications you can or cannot take, don’t rely on what you read on the Internet. Instead, bring it to your doctor and see what he or she says!

*Picture by erix!

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