Cold and flu season hits hard during the winter, and it puts our immune systems to work. For expecting mothers, whose immune systems are already compromised, it’s extra important to treat cold and flu symptoms cautiously when they appear.
“Many over the counter medications can be safe, but make sure to read and understand all the ingredients,” says Carol Rodriguez, MD, OBGYN at Rochester Regional Health. Generally, expecting mothers should try to minimize the amount of medication they take during pregnancy, but some medications are safe to take if you’re fighting a cold or the flu.
The following list includes cold and flu symptom medications that are considered safe for consumption during pregnancy when following the package directions, as well as safe medications for heartburn, nausea, constipation, and other common pregnancy ailments.
*Always take the lowest dose that controls your symptoms. If you get no relief or have additional concerns, please call your physician.
**Avoid any unnecessary medications during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The safest medications during the first trimester include Acetaminophen (Tylenol), saline nasal spray, Vicks, and throat lozenges.
*Do not use Pepto-Bismol
Of course, if you have questions about any of the medications listed (or not listed) above, it’s always a good idea to call your provider and ask if they are safe to take. Your OB, midwife, or nurse will be able to guide you on what will manage your symptoms most effectively while also keeping you and your baby safe.
The flu can cause serious illness during pregnancy and even a generally healthy mom can experience issues. The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu and it can greatly reduce the severity of the flu.
CDC studies show that the flu vaccine can reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by about one-half and getting a flu shot can reduce a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40 percent.
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