What Cough Meds Are Safe During Pregnancy

Cough Medications Safe for Pregnant Women

Cough medications can be an important part of treating colds, allergies, and other illnesses during pregnancy, but safety is essential. Many cough meds contain ingredients that can harm an unborn child or interact with other medications. Below, we review several types of cough medications to help pregnant women find the right one for their symptoms without risking their or their baby’s health.

Decongestants and Expectorants

Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine, are typically not safe to take during pregnancy. However, some expectorants, including guaifenesin, can be taken to break up chest congestion. Choices may include:

  • Guaifenesin Delsym
  • Mucinex

  • Robitussin
  • Sudafed Chest Congestion

Cough Suppressants

Cough suppressants, known as antitussives, can be used to reduce the urge to cough. Evening primrose oil and honey are two safe alternatives to over-the-counter products. However, if a pregnant woman still needs medication, she should ask her doctor which products are safe. Parents should also be aware that most cough suppressants with nutritional supplements or vitamins can be harmful to the baby.


Antihistamines can be used to alleviate the symptoms of allergies, such as a runny nose or itchy eyes, which can cause coughing. Some may be safe during pregnancy, while others can harm the unborn child. Generally, products containing diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl, may be used, but should be taken in the lowest possible dose.


Bronchodilators, such as albuterol, open up the airways and can be taken for coughs caused by asthma or other respiratory illness. These medicines should only be used on the advice of a doctor because of the risk of side effects in pregnant women and the unborn child.

In conclusion, when pregnant women need relief from a nasty cough, there are a few medications that can be taken safely. Expectorants, cough suppressants, antihistamines and bronchodilators can all help, but some may not be safe for use in pregnancy. It’s important to always consult with a doctor before taking any medication while pregnant.

Are decongestants safe during pregnancy?

In general, decongestants should be avoided during pregnancy because it is not known if they are safe for unborn babies. Talk to your doctor before taking any medications, including decongestants, during pregnancy.

Are decongestants safe to take while breastfeeding?

Yes, decongestants are generally considered to be safe to take while breastfeeding. However, it is important to speak to a healthcare provider first, as they can provide the best advice and personalized recommendations.

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