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Colds During Pregnancy: Which Remedies Are Safe

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Pregnant ladies, you've probably already asked your doc this question a million times since the stick turned pink: "Is it safe to...?" You know the basics about microwaving cold-cuts and taking precautions with cleaning chemicals. But now that cold season is here—and you're dying for some sweet relief—what's safe to combat stuffy noses and scratchy throats? Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine, gave us the scoop on commonly-asked questions on colds during pregnancy.

Can I take over-the-counter meds?
First, make sure you double-check with your doc or midwife on OTCs. They know your health situation, and can recommend what will work best for you.

As for which cold medicine for pregnant women Dr. Minkin recommends to her patients: "During the day, regular Sudafed (pseudephedrine) I think is fine; in the nighttime, I go with Benadryl (because of its sedating potential)." Robitussin is approved for coughs, said Dr. Minkin, but if it's a particularly bad cough, "I'll prescribe some Robitussin with codeine, which is safe during pregnancy."

"If a woman needs antibiotics," noted Dr. Minklin, "many are safe in pregnancy, such as penicillin derivatives and cephalosporins (like Ceftin). A few are not OK to take, such as tetracyclines or quinolones (like Cipro)." As always, talk to your doc and make sure he/she knows you're pregnant.

What natural remedies can I use to treat a cold during pregnancy?
Cycling moisture in the air can help alleviate dry throats and nasal passages, said Dr. Minkin. "I'm big on saline mists in the nose; and I'm big on humidifiers/vaporizers. Many pregnant women have very dry mucous membranes, and humidity does help."

When should I call my doctor/midwife?
"A woman should call her health care provider if she develops a temp over 100; also if she starts coughing up green gunk, or coughs up blood," said Dr. Minkin.

A note on flu shots
"All women should get flu vaccines if they are pregnant," said Dr. Minkin. Not only does it offer the baby protection, said Dr. Minkin, but "[flu] severity rate is highest in pregnant women."

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