List of Safe OTC Medications for Pregnancy

Pregnant woman with a glass of water in her hands
Pregnancy (Image: SAKDAWUT14/iStock/Getty Images)

Pregnancy equals change, physically, emotionally and in the lifestyle of a woman. She is no longer thinking and acting on her own behalf, but is caring for and nourishing her child as well. Old habits may need to be broken or altered to benefit the baby, including medications taken, alcohol consumed and diet choices. But when symptoms of a cold, stomach discomfort or pain persist, there are some over-the-counter medications that may still be acceptable.

Pain Relievers

Pregnant women with backaches, headache pain or other discomfort can still relieve their pain with some of the same medications they may have taken pre-pregnancy. Tylenol is generally safe, though extra strength formulas are not recommended. Other generic forms of Tylenol may also be acceptable. Look for acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.

Stomach Aides

Pregnancy may invoke many uncomfortable symptoms, such as heartburn and gas. The antacid Tums is acceptable to ease heartburn and may be beneficial for women who consume less calcium than is healthy in pregnancy. Pepto Bismal is another over-the-counter medication that can be taken when pregnant, and may help to calm stomach distress.

Coughs and Colds

Coughs and colds are irritating at any time, but will surely be more bothersome when accompanied by the various other symptoms of pregnancy. To help manage these symptoms, and avoid bouts of sniffling and coughing that can make it difficult to rest; take an over-the-counter cold medication without phenol or hexylresorcinols. According to, lozenges and sprays that contain these ingredients are not recommended. Other medications containing menthol or benzocaine are a better choice. Cepacol, Vicks and Nice are name brand lozenges that are considered safe.


While the above medications are considered safe for use in pregnancy, it’s always best to read the labels, as the manufacturers often change the active ingredients, according to In addition, asking a doctor in advance (when possible) or seeking the guidance of a pharmacist is sensible. To reduce congestion try Robitussin of Mucinex (see Resources).

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