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Safe Medications During Pregnancy

An over-the-counter (OTC) medication is a non-prescription medication. Good examples are pain relievers or cold medications. During pregnancy, you may feel the need to use over the counter medications. It is important to always read the label of over the counter medications, to be selective, and to use only what is absolutely necessary. An estimated 10% or more of birth defects result from maternal exposure to drugs.

For any pregnant woman with a pre-existing medical condition, or an at-risk pregnancy, no medication should be taken without physician consultation.

An at-home guide to medications

The OTCs most studied are known-to-be-safe, but only when taken according to the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Herbal remedies, other than those specifically recommended by your physician, should be avoided because their safety in pregnancy is unproven. Mega-doses of vitamins may potentially harm the mother or the baby. Prenatal vitamins, iron supplements, and other vitamin/mineral supplements should be taken only under the direction of your health care provider. When in doubt, always call your health provider.

The links above are OTC medications considered low risk for pregnant women when taken occasionally. Also included for some categories are common OTC drugs to avoid. Generic and some of the brand names are listed as examples.

Always call your provider if symptoms persist.

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