It's cold and flu season, and you're pregnant. Scratch that. You're not just pregnant, you're “with child,” as they say in those old-timey movies. Your nose is runny, your throat feels like it's on fire, and you've got a cough that could wake the dead...or at least your sleeping partner.
You want relief, but can you take cough drops while pregnant? Before we tackle that question, let's start with some basics.
Pregnancy 101: What Happens to Your Body When You're Expecting
In case you missed biology class (no judgment here), pregnancy is a miraculous process where a fertilized egg implants itself in your uterus and grows for approximately 40 weeks (gulp) until it’s ready to make an appearance in the world outside your womb.
During this time - sorry guys - there will be no stork delivering babies through chimneys or other random portals. Instead, everything happens inside of you. Hormones surge through your body like partygoers at Coachella; organs shift positions like they’re playing musical chairs; and all sorts of weird stuff goes down.
And if all that wasn't enough to cope with - cue drumroll please - COVID-19 has made everything more complicated! So what’s the deal with taking cough drops during pregnancy?
Cough Drops: Are They Safe For Mom-to-be?
Let's put our thinking caps on for a minute—what are cough drops? The typical ingredients include menthol and/or eucalyptus oil which have been shown to alleviate sore throats/coughs symptoms temporarily , by stimulating sensory nerves in nasal passages/mouth/throat thereby providing relief from congestion due to common cold / breathing difficulties.
With these benefits who wouldn’t reach for one at the first sign of congestion?
The good thing is that most cough drops are considered safe for use during pregnancy. However, before you start popping them like candy, it's essential to follow a few ground rules.
Ground Rule #1: Ask Your Doctor
We know this sounds repetitive and redundant but trust us on this one. “When in doubt, ask your doctor,” became a rule for good reason. Some brands of cough drops contain drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen that can be harmful to the baby.
Cough syrup with codeine should also be avoided unless directed by your obstetrician since Opiates such as Codeine have been associated with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) whereby neonates suffer withdrawal symptoms after birth.
Not Just Doctors..also Pharmacists!
It’s worth mentioning here too that just because certain medicines do not need prescriptions doesn't necessarily mean they're safe for pregnant women either. You should consult your pharmacist; who in many cases may flag usage preference considering what trimester you`re currently at.
Ground Rule #2 – Read The Label - Thoroughly!
The devil is in the details! Check labels like a pro, we suggest keeping tissues away from keyboard perhaps reading when fully awake- No judgement ! Look out specifically for 'herbal' remedies which oftentimes presents concerns about contamination/toxic/chemicals etc
Even natural ingredients aren't always harmless- Camphor included in some types/Ivy leave extracts may cause skin sensitization. Moreover ethanol/alcohol presence needs consideration esp if advised against by Obstetricians regarding its negative impact during various stages of fetal development/CNS depressant effect .
Ground Rule #3: Stick To Moderate Usage
Before starting any form of medication care providers prefer advising expecting mothers using medications ‘responsibly’ &'/or conservatively' ; meaning try going as long without taking anything If it's mild enough or in cases an alternative like hydration, rest ,vitamin C can be attempted to alleviate the symptoms.
When taking medication unavoidably or voluntarily during pregnancy care providers considerations include in part duration of therapy/quantity used; potential histotoxicity effects/effects on platelets, which could result hemolytic anemia /thrombocytopenia especially with adolescents/if taken beyond 32 weeks/whether avoiding respiratory depressants as much as one can & concentration of active ingredients when compared against recommended dosages
Sooooo, back to our original question. Can you take cough drops while pregnant? Yes - most brands are safe for use during pregnancy.
BUT- And this is a big BUT- they must only be used under the guidance of your doctor/pharmacist who should know what medications are appropriate for each stage.
Don't forget to note special caution for certain types e.g/herbal remedies and ‘natural’ ingredients so before making any decisions ask yourself "What would Mama June do?" Or better yet: ask your doctor!
Throughout all these changes-your doctors will incessantly remind you that anything NOT healthy for you ISN'T healthy for your fetus either- So re-evaluate every decision and Go forth Moms-to-be!