Limit Cold Medications During Pregnancy, Experts
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- It's prudent to limit the
use of over-the-counter cold and flu medications during pregnancy,
This is because some medications may contain substances that are
potentially harmful to developing fetuses, or that have not been
well-studied for use in pregnant women.
"Every year around this time, we get a significant number of calls from pregnant and breast-feeding women in California who are battling colds and are worried about which meds they can and can't take," said Christina Chambers, professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego and program director at the California Teratogen Information Service.
To help expectant mothers who are sick this holiday season,
Chambers offered these cold medicine safety tips:
- Take as little as possible. Over-the-counter cold remedies
could contain up to six ingredients for a wide array of symptoms,
such as a cough, runny nose or headache. Choose medications that
contain just the ingredients you need for your specific
- Avoid oral decongestants in early pregnancy. When taken
during the first trimester, these medications have been linked to a
slightly heightened risk of abdominal wall defects in fetuses.
Saline drops or nasal sprays may be good short-term
- Be cautious about herbal ingredients. Many over-the-counter
medications may contain herbal ingredients that have not been
evaluated for use during pregnancy.
- Don't overdo it with lozenges. These drops may soothe a sore
throat but they often contain mostly sugar. Lozenges may also
contain zinc and vitamin C, which should be taken only in limited
daily doses (80 to 100 milligrams per day for vitamin C and 11
milligrams per day for zinc) during pregnancy.
- Choose alcohol-free cough syrups. Opt for cough remedies that
do not contain alcohol.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
medication use during pregnancy.
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.