Can You Take Sudafed While Pregnant?

Everything You Need to Know About Taking Sudafed While Pregnant

Taking Sudafed when you’re pregnant is tricky. Some doctors are OK with their pregnant patients taking Sudafed, as long as it’s not during the first trimester and you don’t also suffer from hypertension. Other doctors may advise completely against taking the decongestant during pregnancy.

What Is Sudafed?

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Sudafed, also known by the generic name “pseudoephedrine hydrochloride,” is a decongestant used to relieve stuffy noses and sinus congestion.

Sudafed’s Pregnancy Category

Sudafed carries a pregnancy Category C designation. This means that studies conducted on pregnant animals have demonstrated adverse effects on the fetus when Sudafed was administered, but no well-controlled studies have been conducted on actual pregnant women. The studies conducted on animals didn’t result in any fetal birth defects, but, when given in high doses, Sudafed resulted in a decrease in average weight, length and bone formation rate.

Sudafed Dosage Information

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The recommended dosage of Sudafed is two tablets every four to six hours. However, pregnant women should really talk to their doctors first before taking it and ask about recommended dosage.

Who Shouldn’t Take Sudafed?

If you’re pregnant and suffer from hypertension, you should avoid taking Sudafed since it can increase your blood pressure. If this is the case, check with your doctor about other safer alternatives to relieve your congestion.

A Note About Sudafed PE

Sudafed PE is a little different from regular Sudafed because it contains phenylephrine HCl instead of pseudoephedrine HCI. Phenylephrine HCl is not considered safe for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester, because of its association with birth defects. When taken orally, phenylephrine HCl can narrow the blood vessels in your uterus, which can decrease blood flow. This prevents your baby from getting enough oxygen, which can slow your baby’s heartbeat and even cause birth defects.

Alternatives to Sudafed

If your doctor decides you should avoid Sudafed, don’t fret. Other medications and remedies are available to help relieve your cold and sinus congestion, including:

  • Saline spray: Many allergy sufferers use saline spray to flush their nasal passages. It can also be a huge help when your nose is stuffy from sinus and cold congestion.
  • Neti pot: Try a neti pot filled with saline water to rinse out your nasal cavities.
  • Steam: Taking a hot shower or boiling water and inhaling the steam can help open your nasal passages to alleviate congestion.
  • Nasal strips: Nasal strips open your nasal passages, making it easier to breath. They are particularly helpful at night when you’re trying to sleep.
  • Menthol rub: Pregnant cold sufferers can try rubbing a little bit of menthol rub, such as Mentholatum or Vicks VapoRub, on the chest and temples as well as under the nose to open their sinuses. 

Always Check With Your Doctor

At the end of the day, whether you take Sudafed during your pregnancy is up to you and your doctor. So, definitely check with your OB first.