Safe medications during pregnancy

Talk with your doctor about everything you take, including herbs and supplements

A doctor smiles while placing her hand on a pregnant patient's belly.

Sometimes, pregnancy can be a surprise. Many women are still taking their prescription medication when they discover they are pregnant. If that was the case for you, you might be wondering if you’ve done your baby harm.

First of all, take a deep breath. Most likely your baby will be just fine. The average pregnant woman takes three to five prescription medications. There are only a limited number of medications that have been proven to cause problems with a growing baby.

We safely recommend hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications in pregnancy, but it is very important for you to go over all of your medications with your doctor. This also includes herbs, supplements and nonprescription drugs. So, do not forget to mention those to your doctor as well.

List of over-the-counter medications considered safe in pregnancy:

Prenatal vitamins

The safest over-the-counter medications during pregnancy are prenatal vitamins. They contain iron and folic acid that help prevent anemia and lower the risk of birth defects. They should be taken starting at least six weeks prior to conception. Your doctor will suggest that you continue throughout the pregnancy and until three months after delivery.

Acne treatment

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Glytone (benzoyl peroxide)

Allergy medication

Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
Claritin or Alavert (Loratadine)
Zyrtec (cetirizine)

Cold and flu treatment

Tylenol Cold and Sinus products

Constipation treatment

Colace (docusate sodium)
Citrucel or Unifiber (methylcellulose)
Fiberall or FiberCon (calcium polycarbophil)
Metamucil (psyllium)
Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide)
ClearLax, MiraLax (polyethylene Glycol)
High-fiber diet

Cough medicine

Dextromethorphan (cough suppression)
Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough
Benylin Adult
Vicks 44 Cough Relief
Cough drops
Vicks VapoRub
Mucinex (guaifenesin, removes mucus from lungs)

Diarrhea treatment

Imodium
Kaopectate
Maalox anti-diarrhea (loperamide)

First-aid treatment

Bacitracin
J&J First-Aid Cream
Neosporin

Gas pain and bloating treatment

Simethicone
Gas-X
Maalox Anti-gas
Mylanta Gas
Mylicon

Heartburn treatment

Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums (calcium carbonate)
Maalox or Mylanta Liquid (aluminum hydrozide, simethicone)
Pepcid AC (famotidine)
Zantac (ranitidine)

Hemorrhoids treatment

Anusol-HC (hydrocortisone)
Preparation H (phenylephrine, pramozine, glycerin, petrolatum)
Tucks pads

Insomnia medicine

Unisom SleepTabs (doxylamine succinate)
Tylenol PM (acetaminophen, diphenhydramine)
Benadryl 25-50 mg

Itching treatment

Hydrocortisone — Cortaid, Lanacort

Nausea, vomiting, motion sickness treatment

Dramamine (dimenhydrinate)
Ginger root (ginger) 250 mg 4 times a day
Vitamin B6, 50 mg twice a day
Sea-Bands
Unisom SleepTabs (doxylamine succinate)

Pain relief and fever medicine

Tylenol (acetaminophen), 650-1,000 mg every 4 hours as needed. Do not take more than 4,000 mg in 24 hours

Rash treatment

Benadryl cream
Caladryl Clear lotion (pramoxine, zinc acetate)
Calamine lotion (calamine, zinc oxide)
Cortaid 1% (hydrocortisone)
Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment (colloidal oatmeal)

Sinus congestion treatment

Tavist Allergy, 1 tab every 12 hours
Benadryl 25-50 mg every 4-6 hours
Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) 1 tab every 4-6 hours after 12 weeks gestation
Claritin 10 mg daily
Zyrtec 10 mg daily
Clor-Trimetron (chlorpheniramine)

Sore throat treatment

Cepacol Maximum Strength sore throat spray or Sucrets (dyclonine hydrochloride)
Chloraseptic lozenges (benzocaine) or spray (phenol)
Halls or Robitussin lozenges (menthol)
Vicks Lozenges with honey (dextromethorphan hydrobromide)

Vaginal yeast infection treatment

Gynazole-1 (butoconazole)
Gyne-Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
Monistat-3 or 7 vaginal cream (miconazole)

Learn more

Posted In Health Information, Pregnancy, Women's