OTC Medication Safety During Pregnancy

Having a cold is no fun when you’re not pregnant and incredibly frustrating when you are. You go from simply feeling bad to feeling bad and confused about what you can do to cope with it. In most cases, a simple head cold, case of indigestion, or low-grade fever would warrant only a quick trip to your medicine cabinet. But when you’re pregnant, the usually safe over-the-counter medications that you’ve come to trust may no longer be a safe option.

The FDA is still studying and examining the impact of even the most common, everyday medications on a developing baby. Because of this, your safest bet is to medicate with sleep and hydration. However, sometimes we need a little help managing the effects of being sick. Here’s a look at generalized OTC medications that are generally safe for pregnant women.


Sometimes doctors advise avoiding these in the 1st trimester.

  • Benadryl (may cause drowsiness)
  • Claritin
  • Chlor-Trimenton
  • Alavert

Cold & Flu

If you believe you have the flu, you should see a doctor right away. Dehydration can be detrimental to a pregnancy and is often a side effect of the flu. Doctors recommend that all pregnant women receive a flu shot to prevent getting the flu.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) Cold & Flu
  • Saline Nasal Drop
  • Robitussin
  • Mucinex

Heartburn, Gas, Indigestion

  • Malox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums
  • Gas X


  • Colace
  • Metamucil

Yeast Infections

You’ll want to talk with your OB before self-medicating, as yeast infections in pregnancy can often be associated with Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) as well. UTIs require a prescription, and recurrent infections can indicate other potential medical issues.

  • Monistat 3


  • Unisom

Rashes or Skin Irritations

  • Benadryl Cream
  • Caladryl
  • Aveeno Oatmeal Bath

Do note that this is just a general list. Individual doctors may have different opinions on this list, and your own reaction to certain medications on this list may make them undesirable. When in doubt about what is safe to take, don’t hesitate to reach out to your IVF clinic or OBGYN before taking medication.

If you find yourself in need of over-the-counter medication regularly, you’ll want to be sure to mention it to your OB. Even if it seems insignificant to you, it’s something your doctor should know about so that they can ensure the best possible care for you and the baby growing inside of you.

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for intended parents, surrogates and donors. She is the co-owner of Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) as well as the children's book You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. She has two adult daughters.