Taking Medications During Pregnancy

Treat the most common pregnancy ailments with pregnancy-safe medications and natural remedies.

Taking Medications During Pregnancy

In recent years, medication use during pregnancy has received much attention. That's because no one wants to be a test subject during their pregnancy, so it’s hard to get factual, evidence-based results on what’s safe and what isn’t. Thankfully, there are helpful resources like Mother to Baby that provide an approved list of pharmacological options when the going gets tough and you can’t deal with the ‘au naturel.’ To help you manage common pregnancy ailments like headaches, insomnia, and digestive problems, we are giving you a breakdown of the medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, along with natural remedies.


Headache. Unfortunately, tension headaches are common during pregnancy. In fact, they could start even before you’ve discovered you’re pregnant! Acetaminophen -- commonly referred to as Tylenol -- is known to be safe during pregnancy. This drug can also tame a fever, though recent studies showed that acetaminophen can cross the placenta barrier and impact a fetus' brain development. This, they found, can result in symptoms in line with ADHD. Follow the instructions provided on the label, and if you have a fever of above 102 degrees, consult your doctor immediately.

Natural cures: prenatal massage, acupuncture, a warm or cool compress depending on type of headache, calming music in a dimly lit room, a warm bath.

Insomnia. They say insomnia or related sensations are the body’s way to prep you for what’s to come once the baby is born, but that doesn’t mean it’s not uncomfortable. According to American Pregnancy, it affects 78% of pregnant women. To help you sleep better and longer at night, you can take diphenhydramine, colloquially called as Benedryl, and Doxylamine succinate, which you may know as Unisom.

Natural cures: changing sleeping positions, prenatal massage, regular exercise, drinking something warm, a teaspoon of warm honey at night.

Cold/Flu Symptoms. The common cold likes to make its way early into the pregnancy for some. Luckily, your OBGYN will recommend a flu shot during pregnancy, which is good for you as well as the unborn fetus. For the common cold, there aren't a lot of options, since medicines like decongestants (Sudafed) aren’t approved. But guaifenesin, a.k.a. expectorant; Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant; Cough drops; and Vicks VapoRub are all known to be safe during pregnancy. Ricola cough drops have a new line called Herbal Immunity lozenges, which doesn't contain artificial ingredients. The good thing about colds or sinus infections is that you can treat them with a variety of natural ways.

Natural cures: hydration support (drinking more than the usual intake to help the body fight off the infection), eating nutritional, wholesome meals or mini-meals, adequate rest (add an extra nap!), essential oils (breathing in), using a humidifier, taking a steam bath, using a netipot, spraying saline in your nostrils.

GI Issues. During pregnancy, you may experience intestinal and digestive problems, like constipation, diarrhea, indigestion and heartburn. That's because when you are growing a little one inside of you, your “intestinal” muscles become more relaxed, and, as a result, digestion slows down. The best way to deal with the discomfort associated with these issues is to understand your food triggers so that you’re able to avoid future discomfort. The approved medications are antacids like Tums and simethicone like Gas-X.

Natural cures: small, frequent meals (avoid large portions at one time), exercise regularly, limit refined sugar intake, hydrate regularly, incorporate fiber into your diet, wear loose clothing if uncomfortable.

When experiencing any of the above, it’s important to first consult your OBGYN to have a discussion about managing the ailment.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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