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August 2018 

What Medicines Can You Take During Pregnancy?

Your medicine bottles have a lot of information on them. But few actually say whether they’re safe to take during pregnancy. So if you’re standing in front of your medicine cabinet with a pounding headache and confused about whether it’s OK to take anything in it while pregnant, you’re not alone.

Pregnant woman sitting on exam table, talking to doctor.

The reality is, there isn’t much information available about medicine safety and pregnancy. That’s because pregnant women aren’t usually included in studies that test the safety of a medicine because of possible risks to the baby.

Talk with your doctor

What’s a mama-to-be to do? The first step is to contact your doctor before taking any kind of prescription or over-the-counter medicine, as well as any herbal products. Since every woman and every pregnancy is different, your doctor can help guide you toward the safest medicine.

In addition, if you’re currently taking a medicine, don’t suddenly stop taking it when you find out you’re pregnant. Be sure to first talk with your doctor and discuss what’s best for you and your baby.

When treating a chronic health condition such as asthma, seizures, or high blood pressure, you may need to continue taking your medicine during pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby even if there may be some risks. Together, you and your doctor will come up with a plan you can both feel good about.

Safe to take

While you should always consult your health care provider first, these over-the-counter medicines to treat common ailments are generally believed to be safe to take during pregnancy.


Safe medicines



Cough, cold, and allergies

Chlorpheniramine, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, diphenhydramine, clemastine fumarate


Kaolin and pectin, loperamide

Heartburn and gas

Aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, simethicone, cimetidine, ranitidine, famotidine

Online Medical Reviewer: Gonnella, Joseph, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 10/2/2017
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