Can You Use Cough Drops While Pregnant?

Safe Cold Remedies During Pregnancy

Really, as if morning sickness wasn't enough? When you're pregnant, getting a cold is difficult. You're already worn down and might be feeling crummy. Popping a cough drop would help ease the symptoms that keep you awake at night, but is it safe? It depends on what type you choose. Many cough drops are perfectly safe for pregnant women. But if you're uncertain, you can always err on the side of caution and make your own.

What Kind of Cough Drops Can I Use?

Pregnant woman having cold

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Cough drops work in a few ways. They increase saliva production to keep your sore throat moist, and some have ingredients that slightly numb the throat to minimize pain and coughing. But while cough drops seem simple, they're not all created equal.

First of all, look for cough drops that don't promise to do anything more than soothe your cough and sore throat. If a product alleges to shorten your cold or deliver a boost of vitamins, it contains more ingredients than you need to ingest. The simpler the ingredient list, the better.

You may be able to keep using your favorite brand of cough drops while you're expecting. Doctors say that Cepacol and Chloraseptic cough drops are safe during pregnancy. Menthol is a common ingredient in some brands, but researchers haven't done much study about menthol during pregnancy. Either avoid menthol drops, or talk to your OB/GYN before using them.

What Kind of Cough Drops Should I Avoid?

Steer clear of cough drops that claim to be made with herbal ingredients, like those you might find at a natural foods store. Some may be perfectly fine, but these varieties tend not to have been thoroughly tested for safety for use during pregnancy.

If you prefer cough syrup to cough drops, you can safely use many common brands. However, be warned that some types of cough syrup are as much as 10 percent alcohol and are therefore not safe for consumption by a pregnant woman. Look for an alcohol-free variety.

What Else Can I Do to Relieve My Cough and Sore Throat?

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Even though most cough drops are perfectly safe while you're pregnant, ingesting dozens per day probably isn't a great idea. If you're only comfortable when you're sucking on a cough drop, try making your own batch of homemade drops with honey, lemon and ginger. Find tons of easy-to-make recipes online that are free of chemicals and medications. In a pinch, sucking on ice chips or gargling with warm salt water should stop your cough and ease your sore throat.

If your cough persists, or if you have cold symptoms that last more than a few days, call your doctor. Call her anytime you have a fever, generally considered to be a temperature above 101°F. Some researchers speculate that fevers during the first trimester contribute to birth defects. And while it's very unlikely that your cough or cold will cause any complications, it never hurts to be overly cautious during this critical time.

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