Read the drug label, and always check with your doctor first

Most medications are okay to take during pregnancy and don’t cause significant risk to your baby, but some can affect a baby’s development. For most women, it’s best to avoid medications altogether for the first trimester, a crucial time in your baby’s development. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or midwife before taking any medication during pregnancy.

Your circumstances or health conditions may be unique. That’s why you should use our list of safe medications as a starting point to talk to your prenatal care provider before you take any medication.

It’s all about weighing the risks for you and your baby

When your doctor prescribes you a medication during pregnancy, she’s weighing the downsides of your medical issue against the downsides of the drug for you and your baby. For something like the common cold, the risks to your baby if you take a decongestant probably outweigh the discomfort you’ll feel being all stuffed up.

Conditions like depression are more complicated. If you’re at high risk of serious depression symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts or behavior, the risk of letting your depression go untreated might outweigh the risks an antidepressant drug poses to your baby. Weighing these risks and benefits is something you should do together with your doctor.

Common conditions during pregnancy

Pain, headache, and fever

Drug-free option: Rest plus a hot or cold compress can work wonders for pain and headaches.

Cold and cough

Tip: Decongestants like Sudafed restrict blood flow to your placenta.

Tip: Get a Tdap shot after 20 weeks gestation to protect your newborn from whooping cough during the first 2 months of life when their risk is highest.

Constipation

Tip: Get plenty of water and fiber in your diet. Eat lots of fruits and veggies.

Drug-free option: Exercise (with your doctor or midwife’s approval) can really get things moving.

  • Unsafe
  • Stimulant laxatives like castor oil

Hemorrhoids

Tip: Avoid constipation that leads to hemorrhoids by getting plenty of water and fiber in your diet.

  • Safe during pregnancy
  • Preparation H
  • Tucks pads
  • Other glycerine, petroleum jelly, or witch hazel-based hemorrhoid creams

Nausea

Tip: Antihistamines (for allergies) can help with nausea.

Flu

Tip: Since the flu can be more serious for pregnant women, get a flu shot at the beginning of flu season.

Gas pains

  • Safe during pregnancy
  • Gas-X
  • Maalox Anti-Gas
  • Mylanta Gas
  • Mylicon

Infections

Yeast infections

Allergies

Drug-free option: Saline nasal spray can clear up congestion.

Itching

Cuts and scrapes

More about the FDA pregnancy categories

The FDA classifies prescription medicines into one of 6 classes based on research about how it affects mothers and babies. While these classes can help guide your decision, check with your doctor about any medication you’re taking.

  • A Safe

    Research studies with real people haven’t found any risk to unborn babies in the first trimester. There’s no evidence of risk later in pregnancy, either.
  • B Probably safe

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.
  • C Weigh risks vs. benefits

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.
  • D Weigh risks vs. benefits

    Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.
  • X Unsafe

    Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.
  • N Unknown

    The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.