Over-the-Counter Preparations Safe to Use in Pregnancy

Treating Illness in Pregnancy

We usually advise you to avoid taking any medications, especially during the first trimester. However, if a healthcare provider who is aware you are pregnant prescribes medication for you at any time, we find it in your best interest to take it without delay. Call the prescriber immediately if you have questions about your medication.

The following is a list of over-the-counter medications and therapies that you can use starting in the second trimester (13th week). Items listed for nausea/vomiting can be safely used from the very beginning of your pregnancy. Generally, you will start at the beginning of your category and work your way through treatments until you get relief.

( * indicates active ingredient/generic of brand name. Generics can always be used in place of brand)

Nausea/ Vomiting: Vitamin B6 (capsules or B-natal™ pops from pharmacy counter) three times/day (may take with 1/2 Unisom® tablet), ginger capsules (1500 mg), tea (chamomile, peppermint, ginger, raspberry leaf – or any combination), papaya enzyme, carob, Sea Bands®, Essential oil aromatherapy (lemon, mint, ginger or any pleasing combination), sips of canned peach syrup or Emetrol® (not for diabetics!)
Allergy Symptoms: Neti Pot, Claritin®, Zyrtec®, Benadryl®
Cold Symptoms: Always increase your water intake!!


  • Congestion/ Stuffy Nose: Saline nasal spray/drops, Vicks® Vapo-Rub, Robitussin®, Triaminic®, Tylenol® Cold/Flu, Theraflu®, Mucinex® (regular or “D”)
  • Cough: Robitussin® (plain or DM), Triaminic®
  • Sore Throat: Salt water gargle, any throat lozenges, Tylenol® (regular or extra strength)

Constipation: 8-10 glasses of water/day minimum, regular exercise, dark green leafy vegetables, flax seed/flax seed oil, fiber supplements (Fibercon®, Metamucil®...), prune juice/Prunelax®, non-stimulant laxative (Colace®, Senokot®, Milk of Magnesia®, Dulcolax®...)
Diarrhea: Immodium® AD, Kaopectat®e
First Aid: Bacitracin®, Neosporin®
Gas: Simethicone*
Headache: 8-10 glasses of water/day minimum, essential oil of lavender (apply to site of pain), Tylenol® (regular or extra strength), caffeine (tea/coffee/cola)
Heartburn/Indigestion/Upset Stomach: Well-chewed hazelnuts, papaya enzyme, ginger capsules or tea, Tums®/Rolaids® (limit 6/day), Maalox®/Mylanta®, Ranitidine*, Cimetidine*, Famotidine*
Hemorrhoids: 8-10 glasses of water/day minimum - avoid straining to have a bowel movement. Warm sitz bath, Tucks®/witch hazel pads (chilled for more relief), Anusol®/Preparation H® (cream or suppositories)
Insomnia: Essential oil of lavender (in bath, to temples or wrists), Sleepy Time Tea®, calcium/magnesium supplements (combination – may help with restless legs), Tylenol® PM/ Benadryl®/Unisom®/Sominex®
Pain: 8-10 glasses of water/day minimum, heat/ ice, yoga/ exercise, Ben-Gay®, Chiropractic or Massage therapy, Tylenol®
Rashes/Itching: Aveeno® (oatmeal) bath, Benadryl® cream or tablets, Hydrocortisone cream
Urinary Tract Infection: Increase water intake immediately, cranberry capsules or juice (not “cocktail”), Azo®
Yeast Infections: Avoid high-carbohydrate diet, do not douche, eat yogurt with active cultures, use probiotics, treat with Monistat® (or any with active ingredient ending in “-azole”) 3-day or longer formula
Miscellaneous: Flu/ hepatitis vaccines, PPD test, nicotine patch, hair dyes/perms