Over-the-Counter Medications During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
When you're pregnant, treating a simple ailment can seem complicated. While you may be tempted to reach for the remedies you used before pregnancy, you're probably concerned about their safety. The truth is, many medications are safe to take when you're expecting, but there are some that can hurt your baby.
In general, it's best to avoid any unnecessary medications early in your pregnancy. During the first trimester, fetal organs develop rapidly, making them extremely vulnerable to the potential risks of drugs.
But that doesn't mean you have to suffer. If you truly can't get by without medication, your doctor can tell you which over-the-counter and prescription drugs are safe to take at your stage of pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can also suggest drug-free options to ease your symptoms.
A cold compress and rest can help alleviate headaches and muscle pain during pregnancy, but if you need additional relief, your doctor may recommend acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). When this drug is used as directed, it's a safe option. However, it's best to avoid aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (the painkiller in Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (the active ingredient in Aleve). Some studies suggest that taking these medications near conception or in early pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects.