Expert Advice

If you have a cold during pregnancy, you may feel the effects of the virus even more than you would before pregnancy, simply because your body is working so hard to support both you and your baby right now. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose and sore throats can be maddening. So what can you take to feel better? A pharmacist has some information.

Pregnancy cold advice

The question?

What nonprescription medications can I take for a cold while pregnant?
- Chelsea in Sacramento, California

The expert answers:

Before using any nonprescription cold remedy while pregnant, we urge you to speak with your doctor or other caregiver. Together, you must weigh any risks to your unborn child versus the benefits for you while taking these or any other medications. In the meantime, the following general information may be helpful.

Using non-drug treatments may be best for the management of cold symptoms in pregnant women. Some ways for you to keep your body healthy include the following:


  • Get plenty of sleep and rest.
  • Continue to eat right.
  • Stay adequately hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids -- at least six glasses of water per day.
  • Gargle with warm salt water a few times during the day.

For dry and nonproductive coughs, throat lozenges and cough drops or hard candies may help. Cough drops containing menthol should be no problem for you to take, but please confirm this with your doctor first.

For congestion, saline sprays (sterile saltwater) are non-medicated sprays that may help. Some examples of these products include 4-Way Saline Spray, Breathe Free Saline Spray and Ocean Saline Nasal Mist. You can review these products in our Nasal Sprays section. Increasing the moisture content of the air may help with congestion as well. You can achieve this by using a cool mist humidifier.

Finally, to manage body aches, fever or headaches, using acetaminophen (the generic name for Tylenol) is appropriate. This drug is considered to be safe for use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Breathe in moisture-filled air by using a cool mist humidifier.


Tags: coughing sneezing

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