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Cold Medicine While Pregnant: 4 Types That Are Safe to Use

Cold Medicine While Pregnant: 4 Types That Are Safe to Use

Pregnant women are prone to colds because their body’s hormonal changes tend to weaken the immune system. Especially if it’s the rainy season. However, do not carelessly take medication because certain substances can pose a risk of harm to the fetus in the stomach. Here are a variety of cold medicine choices that are effective and safe to drink for pregnant women.

You can’t just take any cold medicine while pregnant

Whatever you experience, feel, and consume during pregnancy can affect the unborn baby in the womb. That’s why you shouldn’t take medicine carelessly even if the disease is just a “trivial” cold. As much as possible avoid certain non- prescription drugs, especially if you are less than 12 weeks pregnant.

The reason is that the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is a critical period in the development of vital organs of the fetus. Taking the wrong medicine can be dangerous for the development of the fetus in your womb.

Make sure to always consult a doctor before taking any medication and whenever you feel something unusual in your body.

A safe choice of cold medicine while pregnant

cold medicine while pregnant

Depending on the symptoms and complaints you feel, here are some of the safest cold medicine while pregnant:

1. Paracetamol

Paracetamol is a pain reliever that relieves symptoms that accompany colds such as fever, headache, sore throat, and aches. It is a cold medicine that is safe for pregnant women to take. You can get this medicine at the nearest pharmacy, drug store, or supermarket without redeeming a doctor’s prescription.

Even so, make sure you take the medicine according to the recommended dosage. Read carefully the instructions for using the drug listed on the packaging label before using it.

2. Antihistamines

Antihistamine drugs such as diphendyramine and chlorpheniramine are classified as safe for treating colds in pregnant women caused by allergies.

Both diphendyramine and chlorpheniramine are also effective for clearing the nose and relieving an itchy throat, sneezing, and watery eyes. However, these two drugs can make you sleepy, so it is best to take them before bed.

Again, use this drug wisely. Make sure the dose of medicine you take is in accordance with the instructions for use. If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult a doctor or pharmacist.

3. Expectorants

A cold that is also accompanied by a cough with phlegm is annoying. Well, expectorant drugs containing guaifenesin can simultaneously overcome these two symptoms.

Guaifenesin works to thin and soften mucus in the respiratory tract so you can breathe easier. Guaifenesin also reduces the reflex to cough.

However, the safety of guaifenesin in pregnant women is still being debated. It is better to consult with your doctor first.

4. Saline spray

Another cold medicine option that is safe for pregnant women is a nasal spray filled with saline.

Saline is a saline solution that works to thin the mucus and moisturize the respiratory tract. That way, the nose is no longer clogged due to colds.

You can get this one drug at the nearest drug store without having to use a doctor’s prescription. However, be careful when using it.

If you don’t understand how to use it, don’t hesitate to ask the pharmacist directly.

Even so, actually a number of cold medicine recommendations above only help relieve symptoms so you can recover quickly.

To really be able to cure colds completely, you need to get antiviral drugs through a doctor’s prescription.

Rules for taking cold medicine for pregnant women

cold medicine while pregnant

If doctors feel the need to recommend cold medicine, they will definitely first warn pregnant women to look at the packaging label. It is important to know what ingredients are contained in the drug and how to use it.

Many people are not aware that the cold medicine they are taking actually contains a combination of various medicinal substances at once. Most cold medicine sold in the market is a combination of various kinds of symptom relievers.

For example, in one dose of a tablet or capsule of medicine, it contains fever-reducing drugs, pain relievers, antihistamines, decongestants, and others. This can increase the risk of drug interactions, as well as the possibility of overdose.

There is also a risk of overdose if you take many different drugs at one time. For example, just taking a fever-lowering medication that contains paracetamol. Then not long after taking another cough medicine with phlegm which also contains paracetamol. Before you know it, you’ve doubled the unnecessary dose of paracetamol. So you should first take a single drug to treat one specific symptom until you get better before switching to another type of drug.

Take the drug according to the recommended dose and duration. Never prolong, stop, add, or reduce the dose of a drug carelessly.

Remember, what a mother drinks and eats can affect the fetus in her womb.

If you feel that the symptoms of a cold are very annoying and getting worse, don’t delay to consult a doctor.

Alternatives to cold medicine while pregnant

Before immediately prescribing cold medicine, doctors will usually advise pregnant women to rest first.

You may also be advised to drink more water. These two combinations of home ‘cold remedies’ are proven to be effective in relieving symptoms naturally.

While taking cold medicine and getting plenty of rest, it’s also a good idea for pregnant women to try the following things to relieve their cold symptoms.

  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Inhale hot steam.

Pregnancy Weight Gain

This calculator is for women who want to know what their healthy weight gain range during pregnancy is, based upon what their weight was before they became pregnant.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  1. Black, R., & Hill, D. (2003). Over-the-Counter Medications in Pregnancy. American Family Physician67(12), 2517-2524. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0615/p2517.html
  2. Cough and Cold During Pregnancy: Treatment and Prevention. (2014). American Pregnancy Association. Retrieved 11 June 2019, from https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/cough-cold-during-pregnancy/
  3. Cold Medicine and Pregnancy. (2019). EverydayHealth.com. Retrieved 11 June 2019, from https://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-and-flu/cold-medicine-and-pregnancy.aspx
  4. Cold and Flu During Pregnancy – https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/cold-and-flu-during-pregnancy accessed in 11 June 2019
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Written by Hello Sehat Updated Dec 15, 2021
Fact Checked by Jan Alwyn Batara