Is It Safe To Take Cold Medicine While Pregnant?

Is It Safe To Take Cold Medicine While Pregnant?

Prioritizing your health and well being becomes increasingly important during pregnancy. Unfortunately, though, the healthiest of us can get sick. As if pregnancy symptoms didn’t take enough of a toll, dealing with a cold while pregnant can make you desperate for relief. 

But, is it safe to take cold medicine while pregnant? It depends. Some common cold medicine ingredients have been deemed safe for use during pregnancy, while others may have known adverse effects on babies. Some cold medicine drugs simply lack the research to support a conclusion of whether they’re safe or not. For the best advice on what cold medicine you can take while pregnant, speak with your OBGYN or midwife. 

In the meantime, keep reading to find answers to some frequently asked questions about taking cold medicine during pregnancy.

Is it common to get a cold during early pregnancy?

Colds are common during pregnancy. Your immune system is lowered while carrying a baby. This is part of your body’s

biological effort to protect your baby from your own body thinking your little one is a foreign entity that needs to be evacuated. While this sounds a little dark, it’s a very good thing. Bad news for mom though: it means you may be more prone to colds and other illnesses. While run-of-the-mill colds are quite common during all trimesters, let your doctor know if your symptoms last longer than 10 days. You’ll want to know as soon as possible if your cold has resulted in a secondary infection. 

Are colds worse when pregnant?

Unfortunately, colds can definitely be worse when pregnant. The reason for this is two-fold. 

  1. Suppressed immune system: This doesn’t only mean that you’re more likely to get a cold, but it also means your cold may last longer with more intense symptoms. 
  2. Not feeling your best during pregnancy: Some women blow through their pregnancy without many symptoms at all, but many women struggle with fatigue, nausea, headaches, and other miserable symptoms. Unless you’re in the glorious second trimester, you may already be feeling run down, exhausted, hot, out of breath … should we go on? You get the picture. A cold can amplify all of these symptoms. 

How long do colds last when pregnant?

Well, it depends. We do know that they are more likely to last longer than a normal cold would if you were not pregnant, but lengths of any illness can still vary. Normally, cold symptoms last between 7-10 days. When you’re getting upwards of the one week mark, plan on giving your doctor a call. 

When pregnant, it’s always better to be overly cautious than to let an illness ride. Additionally, take note of any changes to the color of your mucus while pregnant. Any color change in the yellow, green, or brown realm could indicate the involvement of bacteria. What was a common cold could turn into sinusitis, bronchitis, or other respiratory infection. 

Is it safe to take DayQuil and/or NyQuil while pregnant?

The short of the long is - probably not. Here’s some information that can help you make the right decision for you. 

  1. Alcohol: It is pretty common knowledge that women shouldn’t drink alcohol while pregnant. Many people do not realize that DayQuil and NyQuil may contain up to 10% alcohol in its ingredients. Any amount of alcohol consumption while pregnant puts an unborn baby at risk of developing fetal alcohol syndrome. 
  2. Phenylephrine: Variations of DayQuil and NyQuil contain the drug phenylephrine. This is a commonly used nasal decongestant that should not be taken during pregnancy. Consumption of this drug during pregnancy can decrease blood flow to the placenta - which is what nourishes your baby and brings them oxygen. 
  3. Acetaminophen: While largely considered safe to take during pregnancy, there is some controversy surrounding the possible effects of Acetaminophen on an unborn baby. More research may be necessary. 

Keep in mind that there are many variations of this common cold-buster, so be sure to read the ingredients and do your own research or call your doctor to verify its safety while pregnant. 

Can you take vitamin C while pregnant?

It is not uncommon to reach for some Emergen-C or extra vitamins while battling a cold, but you may want to think twice during pregnancy. Excessive amounts of vitamin C while pregnant may have adverse effects on unborn babies, but more research is needed. 

Pregnant women need about 85 mg of vitamin C per day, which is slightly more than a woman who is not pregnant needs. Any amount over 1900 mg is considered unsafe, especially for pregnant women. Between your prenatal vitamins and the nutrient-dense foods you’re eating while pregnant, you should be getting plenty of vitamin C to help kick your cold. 

Does cold and cough during pregnancy affect the baby?

As long as you manage to stay hydrated, avoid an infection, and steer clear of unsafe meds, a cold or cough during pregnancy should not impact your baby. 

What can you take for a cold if you are pregnant?

It is always safest to avoid over-the-counter (OTC) medications while pregnant, but sometimes mama needs some relief. Here are some common cold medicines that are considered safe during pregnancy.

  • Acetaminophen: This pain reliever is largely considered safe during all trimesters as long as maximum doses are not exceeded and it is not relied on regularly. 
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine): Avoid this drug in the first trimester or if you struggle with high blood pressure or heart disease. Otherwise, Sudafed is considered safe during pregnancy. 
  • Chlor-Trimeton (Chlorpheniramine): This drug is considered safe during pregnancy, but avoid it while breastfeeding. 
  • Benadryl (Diphenhydramine): Benadryl is considered safe to take while pregnant. 

Before reaching for any cold meds, try some of these natural alternatives. 

  • Take plenty of naps (no arguments here)
  • Warm shower to loosen mucus
  • Saline nasal spray to unclog blocked nasal passages
  • Humidifier (a cool mist humidifier may be safer if you have other little ones running around) 
  • Elderberry
  • Zinc
  • Manuka Honey


We hope that this blog has cleared up some uncertainties about how to deal with a cold when you’re pregnant. At Dreamland Baby, we care deeply about keeping your baby safe - before and after birth. That's why we’ve partnered with professionals in the fields of sleep, medicine, infant care, and occupational therapy to design sleep solutions proven to help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. In turn, this means you can get more sleep, too. 

Pregnant or not, sleep helps us all stay healthy. Shop Dreamland’s sleep solutions for babies, so you can get the sleep you need, too!


Is it common to get a cold during early pregnancy? 

How long do colds last when pregnant?,the%20color%20of%20your%20mucus

Is it safe to take DayQuil and/or NyQuil while pregnant?,Langan

Can you take vitamin C while pregnant? 

Does cold and cough during pregnancy affect the baby? 

What can you take for a cold if you are pregnant?

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