At the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, each patient is an important member of her own care team and education is the cornerstone of our high-quality care. Find information about medications in pregnancy.

It is difficult to advise a woman about the safety of medications in pregnancy since there might be long-term drug effects of which we are unaware. In general, medications that have been around longer have been tested more thoroughly and should be preferred over newer ones. We recommend avoiding any unnecessary drug or medication during pregnancy, especially during the first 20 weeks when your baby’s organ systems are forming.

It is important, however, if you have preexisting medical problems for which you were taking medication prior to your pregnancy, that you speak with your primary care doctor or obstetrician before you stop taking it. There may be serious problems for you and your baby if you inappropriately stop taking a medication.

It is ultimately your choice if you wish to take medications for headaches, cold and flu. Each woman has to weigh the benefits versus the risks.

Pain Relievers

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) will help headache and minor discomforts. Avoid aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil).

Cold and Flu

Actifed, Sudafed, Chlortrimethon can be taken for congestion and Robitussin DM can be taken for cough suppression. If you have high blood pressure or are taking blood pressure medication, consult us before using cold preparations. If you are diabetic, please ask your pharmacist for cough syrup which does not contain sugar.

Antibiotics

Penicillins and Ampicillin are permitted anytime during your pregnancy if you were not previously allergic. Sulfa drugs are allowed up until the third trimester, except in rare instances. Erythromycin is an alternative if you are allergic to penicillins.

Stool Softeners

You may use Metamucil, Colace, Senokot or Milk of Magnesia.

Antacids

Tums are fine and a good source of calcium. You may also use Mylanta, Maalox, Gelusil, Riopan and Rolaids. Do not use Alka Seltzer as it contains aspirin.

Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is recommended and safe at any time during pregnancy.

Tdap Vaccine

The Tdap vaccine is recommended in the third trimester of each pregnancy to protect the newborn from pertussis (whooping cough).

 

Please check with your healthcare provider before taking any medications if you have questions or concerns.