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.