Can You Take NyQuil While Pregnant?

Can You Take NyQuil While Pregnant?

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 easily-accessible medications in your cabinet to treat them.

And you might be wondering about one common cold and flu remedy in particular…

So, 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?
  • Is it ok to take DayQuil while pregnant?
  • 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 or Theraflu generally contain four or five different ingredients.

Let’s talk them through in relation to you and your peanut:


First off, a lot of NyQuil syrups contain 10% of alcohol – which we know doesn’t mix well with pregnancy at any stage.

The severe use of alcohol is linked to pregnancy loss, birth differences, and developmental disabilities

And while there’s a large difference between alcohol-containing medicine and, say, a bottle of wine, it’s a risk better kept off the table.


As pain relievers go, acetaminophen (or Tylenol) is about as safe as you get during pregnancy.

Make sure to keep track of how much acetaminophen you are consuming in total in 24 hours. Do not exceed 4 grams in total, as it can cause liver issues.


A common cough suppressant found in OTC (over-the-counter) cold medicines – including Mucinex.

It’s generally assumed to be safe in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy – the risk of birth differences or difficulties failing to rise above the 3% baseline.

Your doctor might prescribe it if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.


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, be aware antihistamines can make you drowsy.


This is a very effective decongestant, but it’s also the main problem with NyQuil during pregnancy.

While it’s important to note that the studies show only a small elevated risk of birth differences, there are theoretical concerns that phenylephrine can reduce blood flow to the placenta.

And because phenylephrine constricts blood vessels, there is some potential for it to raise your blood pressure.

If you have a history of high blood pressure, this may be enough for you to stick to more natural home remedies.

The risk to the fetus seems to be higher if the medication is taken during the first trimester.

Phenylephrine is currently found in NyQuil Severe Cold & Flu but not in some other formulations.

If you’ve already taken NyQuil containing phenylephrine, don’t panic but don’t take any more until you’ve spoken to your doctor.

Generally, the recommendation is to avoid this ingredient entirely in the first trimester, saving it only for the second and third.

Still, because there are so many other options, it’s best to talk to your doctor before taking any cold and flu remedies, just to make sure.

Is it ok to take DayQuil while pregnant?

Because DayQuil also contains phenylephrine and alcohol, 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 ingredient guaifenesin it contains.

What can you do to ease cold and flu symptoms while pregnant?

So you’re struggling with these 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 does not interact with any other drugs you’re currently taking, 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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