Medicines During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there are medicines that are either safe or unsafe to take. Medicines include prescriptions from your caregiver, over-the-counter medicines, topical creams applied to the skin, and all herbal substances. Medicines are put into either Class A, B, C, or D. Class A and B medicines have been shown to be safe in pregnancy. Class C medicines are also considered to be safe in pregnancy, but these medicines should only be used when necessary. Class D medicines should not be used at all in pregnancy. They can be harmful to a baby.

It is best to take as little medicine as possible while pregnant. However, some medicines are necessary to take for the mother and baby's health. Sometimes, it is more dangerous to stop taking certain medicines than to stay on them. This is often the case for people with long-term (chronic) conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure (hypertension). If you are pregnant and have a chronic illness, call your caregiver right away. Bring a list of your medicines and their doses to your appointments. If you are planning to become pregnant, schedule a doctor's appointment and discuss your medicines with your caregiver.

Lastly, write down the phone number to your pharmacist. They can answer questions regarding a medicine's class and safety. They cannot give advice as to whether you should or should not be on a medicine.

SAFE AND UNSAFE MEDICINES

There is a long list of medicines that are considered safe in pregnancy. Below is a shorter list. For specific medicines, ask your caregiver.

Allergy Medicines

Loratadine, cetirizine, and chlorpheniramine are safe to take. Certain nasal steroid sprays are safe. Talk to your caregiver about specific brands that are safe.

Analgesics

Acetaminophen and acetaminophen with codeine are safe to take. All other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not safe. This includes ibuprofen.

Antacids 

Many over-the-counter antacids are safe to take. Talk to your caregiver about specific brands that are safe. Famotidine, ranitidine, and lansoprazole are safe. Omepresole is considered safe to take in the second trimester.

Antibiotic Medicines 

There are several antibiotics to avoid. These include, but are not limited to, tetracyline, quinolones, and sulfa medications. Talk to your caregiver before taking any antibiotic.

Antihistamines 

Talk to your caregiver about specific brands that are safe.

Asthma Medicines 

Most asthma steroid inhalers are safe to take. Talk to your caregiver for specific details.

Calcium 

Calcium supplements are safe to take. Do not take oyster shell calcium.

Cough and Cold Medicines 

It is safe to take products with guaifenesin or dextromethorphan. Talk to your caregiver about specific brands that are safe. It is not safe to take products that contain aspirin or ibuprofen.

Decongestant Medicines

Pseudoephedrine-containing products are safe to take in the second and third trimester.

Depression Medicines 

Talk about these medicines with your caregiver.

Antidiarrheal Medicines 

It is safe to take loperamide. Talk to your caregiver about specific brands that are safe. It is not safe to take any antidiarrheal medicine that contains bismuth.

Eyedrops 

Allergy eyedrops should be limited.

Iron 

It is safe to use certain iron-containing medicines for anemia in pregnancy. They require a prescription.

Antinausea Medicines 

It is safe to take doxylamine and vitamin B6 as directed. There are other prescription medicines available, if needed.

Sleep aids 

It is safe to take diphenhydramine and acetaminophen with diphenhydramine.

Steroids 

Hydrocortisone creams are safe to use as directed. Oral steroids require a prescription. It is not safe to take any hemorrhoid cream with pramoxine or phenylephrine.

Stool softener 

It is safe to take stool softener medicines. Avoid daily or prolonged use of stool softeners.

Thyroid Medicine 

It is important to stay on this thyroid medicine. It needs to be followed by your caregiver.

Vaginal Medicines 

Your caregiver will prescribe a medicine to you if you have a vaginal infection. Certain antifungal medicines are safe to use if you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Talk to your caregiver.