Although some medications are safe to take during pregnancy, many are not. As a general rule, you should never start, continue, or stop taking medication while pregnant without first consulting your healthcare provider.
Classification of medication risk factors
Each drug has a risk factor classification associated with it based on the potential risk it poses to pregnancy. The ratings, along with a proper analysis of the risks and benefits of using that medication in your situation, will help you and your health care provider determine the right course of action.
- Category A: Controlled studies show no risk or find no evidence of harm.
- Category B: Animal studies show no risks, but there are no controlled studies in pregnant women.
- Category C: Animal studies have shown risk to the fetus, there are no controlled studies in women, or studies in women and animals are not available.
- Category D: There is positive evidence of potential fetal risk, but the benefits from use in pregnant women may be acceptable despite the risk (i.e. life-threatening condition to mother).
- Category X: Studies in animals or human beings have demonstrated fetal abnormalities, or there is evidence of fetal risk. The drug is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant.
Safe medications to take during pregnancy
As a general rule, don’t take any medication while pregnant unless it is necessary. Having said that, these groups of medications and home remedies have no known harmful effects during pregnancy, when taken according to the package directions.
Allergy: Chlorpheniramine or Loratadine or steroid nasal spray (Budesonide)
Cold and flu: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and saline nasal drops or spray
Rashes: Benadryl cream or Hydrocortisone cream
However, before taking any medicine when you’re pregnant, you should always get advice from your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider.
Before buying and consuming any medication, we strongly recommend the following:
- Always consult your doctor or pharmacist
- Always check the drug’s label — look for warnings or pregnancy contraindications
- Check with your healthcare provider or the pharmacist about potential side effects
- Be careful to not mix up your medications to avoid overdosing
- Avoid sharing medications with others
- Ask questions about the medication safety for you and your developing baby — don’t forget to tell the pharmacist that you are pregnant
- Always keep a record of any medication you’re taking, whether pregnant or not
- Medication And Pregnancy, American Pregnancy (https://americanpregnancy.org/medication/medication-and-pregnancy/ )
- Paracetamol When Pregnant, NHS (https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/can-i-take-paracetamol-when-i-am-pregnant/ )
- Treating for Two: Medicine and Pregnancy, CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/treatingfortwo/index.html)