Catching a cold or getting the flu is always miserable, let alone while you’re pregnant. If the symptoms weren’t bad enough, you’ve also got the dilemma of whether you should be taking the medications in your cabinet to treat them.
And you might be wondering about one common cold and flu remedy in particular: Can you take NyQuil while you’re pregnant?
Unfortunately, lots of doctors would give a firm ‘no’.
Here, we’ll look at the reasons why. But don’t worry – we’ve also found some alternative ways to unstuff your nose, banish your headache, and get you some proper rest.
In this article 📝
- What is NyQuil?
- Is NyQuil safe during pregnancy?
- What can you do to ease cold and flu symptoms while pregnant?
What is NyQuil?
NyQuil is a brand name cold and flu remedy. It’s available over the counter in different formulations to treat coughs, runny noses, and general aches and pains.
The variety of strengths and ingredients is what makes so many people reach for NyQuil while they’re ill.
But it’s also the reason that it’s such a tricky medication to navigate during pregnancy.
Is NyQuil safe during pregnancy?
Generally, NyQuil is not recommended for pregnant women.
The problem with NyQuil while pregnant is that, while some formulations are okay, others contain an ingredient that has been linked to a higher rate of birth differences.
Cold and flu remedies like NyQuil generally contain four or five different ingredients:
- Alcohol: First off, a lot of NyQuil syrups contain alcohol, which doesn’t mix well with pregnancy at any stage.
- Acetaminophen: On the other hand, this one is about as safe as you get during pregnancy.
- Dextromethorphan: A cough suppressant. It’s generally assumed to be safe, and your doctor might prescribe it if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.
- Doxylamine: This is an antihistamine that helps to dry out your runny nose and reduce your urge to sneeze. While it’s considered to be quite safe to take during pregnancy overall, antihistamines can make you drowsy. Which also makes your baby drowsy. This means you might not feel as much movement from them for a few hours after you take the medication.
- Phenylephrine: This is a very effective decongestant, but it’s also the big problem with NyQuil during pregnancy.
While it’s important to note that the studies show only a small elevated risk, there is evidence to suggest that phenylephrine affects fetal development and can cause birth differences.
The chance seems to be higher if the medication is taken during the first trimester.
If you’ve already taken NyQuil containing this ingredient, don’t panic, but don’t take any more until you’ve spoken to your doctor.
Phenylephrine is currently found in NyQuil severe cold and flu, but not in some other formulations.
Still, because there are so many options, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking any cold and flu remedies, just to make sure.
Can you take DayQuil while pregnant?
Because DayQuil also contains phenylephrine, it’s also off the table, especially during early pregnancy.
Can you take Tylenol Cold and Flu while pregnant?
Again, this medication contains phenylephrine so it’s not recommended during pregnancy.
There are also some question marks over the guaifenesin it contains.
What can you do to ease cold and flu symptoms while pregnant?
So you’re struggling with symptoms, and sick of being told what you can’t put in your body to make yourself feel better. We hear you.
What can you do to treat your cold and flu symptoms during pregnancy? Here are some of the best tips for coping:
- Stay hydrated: It fights your cough and helps your body to get better faster. Hot drinks like teas with ginger, echinacea, and chamomile can also boost your immune system and help you get some restful sleep.
- Take acetaminophen: As long as it’s not mixed with any other drugs, it’s generally safe to take a regular dose of acetaminophen for aches, pains, and fever.
- Use a saline nose spray: This can help to ease congestion and make your nose feel more comfortable.
- Go for a walk: If you feel up to it, a little movement or fresh air can help to loosen some mucus and make it easier to breathe. Or:
- Take a warm shower: If you’d rather stay inside, steam and warm water can have a similar effect.
So hang in there, mama, and look after yourself.
And remember, if you’re really struggling to get better or you’re worried about any of your symptoms, give your doctor a call to talk about your options.
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