During the 9 months of pregnancy the woman should be extremely careful about her overall medical condition because every virus can cause unexpected damage to herself or her unborn baby. Still, sometimes it is just impossible to keep viruses away. If you accidentally catch cold and you are coughing so bad that medical treatment is needed. Then you start asking yourself: What cough medicine to take? Are the cough medicine for pregnant women safe? Won’t they harm the baby? These are all reasonable questions which deserve special attention.  

Is It Safe to Use Cough Medicine for Pregnant Women?

Since pregnancy is a very delicate state, we can say that no drug is 100 percent safe for all women. We have to be careful with any drug, even with over-the-counter medication or OTC drugs. The best thing to do is consult your GP or obstetrician. They both know your health situation and can recommend what will work best for you. Do not take more than the prescribed dose and better avoid taking any medication at all during the first trimester. This is the time when the fetus is most vulnerable.

There are a number of medicines for cough or cold. Specialists recommend the following safe cough medicine for pregnant women to take:

  • Guaifenesin – it stimulates expectoration and clears the respiratory system
  • Dextromethorphan – suppresses cough
  • A combination of Guaifenesin and Dextromethorphan
  • Cough drops
  • Vicks VapoRub - an ointmentapplied on the throat and chest to suppress cough and alleviate muscles.

Precautions and Warnings

Avoid these medicines: On the other hand, there are medicines which should be avoided during pregnancy. Those are cold remedies containing alcohol and also the decongestants pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine which could affect blood flow to the placenta.

Know when to call the doctor: A woman should call her obstetrician if she develops a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Other worrisome symptoms are coughing out green gunk or blood.

Natural Remedies to Relieve Cough and Colds During Pregnancy

There are some natural, hence totally safe ways to relieve cough and cold discomforts with no need to use cough medicine for pregnant women.

1. Drink Lots of Water and Beverages

Water hydrates the body and washed out toxins. Recommended for any physical condition, this precious liquid has even greater benefits in the delicate state of pregnancy. Still, if you aren’t used to drinking water or if you find it too tasteless, you may turn to other beverages. Fresh fruit or vegetable juices are much more preferable than the stimulating coffee or soda drinks which contain too much sugar or artificial sweeteners.

2. Gargle

Gargling is a good way to relieve a sore throat and constant coughing Gargling with warm water with some rock salt added to it is an excellent natural treatment for cough or congestion in the throat. Also, if you sip warm water throughout the day – plain or mixed with a little lemon and honey – you will feel your pain being reduced significantly.

The following video provides an effective remedy to relive cough and cold with ginger, lemon and honey:

3. Take Prenatal Vitamins and Healthy Foods

Instead of cough medicine for pregnant women, try prenatal vitamins. They contain vitamin C and zinc which boost the immune system and fight off bacteria. Also remember to take use of organic foods – through food containing lots of vitamins and minerals. Specialists recommend that you consume fish or sea food at least twice a week in order to have a strong immune system.

  • Omega-3 fat acids are well-known boosters of the immune system. They also reduce the infection processes in the body and increase the activity of the white blood cells which engulf bad bacteria.
  • ŸEat more proteins. They are found in abundance in eggs, chicken and fish.
  • ŸConsume leafy vegetables every day. They also contain vitamin D which is often called a “guard” of the immune system.
  • Last but not least, eat garlic. This vegetable is an enemy number one of viruses and bad bacteria.

4. Take Hot Shower and Humidify

A hot shower loosens secretions in the nose and reduces urges for cough. Hot shower also treats cough caused by allergies or asthma.

Humidifiers can also relieve cough. When air in the room is dry, it may dry out the nasal secretions and create a discomfort. If you put humidifier in the room, you may alleviate that condition but remember that you shouldn’t over moisturize it.

It’s important how you sleep. If you nose is stuffy, sleep popped-up, specialists recommend. The inclined position of the head helps sinus drainage and guarantees comfortable sleep.

More Notes on Using Medication for Pregnant Women

A pregnant woman should always consider all the effects of a medicine before taking it. Cough medicines for example alleviate the pain but may contain some ingredients which can be potentially harmful for the unborn baby. She should also avoid the stronger version of a medication, drugs containing alcohol and should always consult her doctor before resorting to any medical substances.Medicines treating coughs and colds can be divided into several groups:


Are They Safe to Use?


Those clean up congestions caused by colds or flu. Pseudoephedrine is most recommended for those who are pregnant. However, it should be avoided in the first trimester. The Food and Drugs Association categorizes pseudoephedrine as a group C drug which means that it should be taken only if its beneficial effects are greater than the potential risks for the unborn.

Cough suppressants

They suppress the urge to cough. Dextromethorphan proves to be quite an effective cough depressant and is safe for pregnant women. Still, it is considered a category C drug.


These medicines loosen thick mucus, thus making it easier to get out of the chest and clear the respiratory tract. Guaifenesin is widely prescribed to pregnant women. It is considered a category C drug, American Family Physician journal writes.


Those medicines block the body’s reaction to allergies or other outside agents which might cause coughing. According to American Family Physician, antihistamines most prescribed for pregnant women include chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, and clemastine fumarate. All three are considered a category B drugs. This means two things: They either proved safe in animal reproduction tests but haven’t been tested on pregnant women, or animal studies have not revealed any adverse effects of these drugs.