List of Medications You Can Take While Pregnant

If you’re pregnant and not feeling well, you want to be able to get relief for your symptoms. However, you don’t want any medication that you take to hurt your baby. Luckily, there are a few safe medications that are OK for doctors to prescribe during pregnancy. Always speak with your doctor before taking any medicines while pregnant!

There are a few medications that you can take safely when you’re pregnant.

There are a few medications that you can take safely when you’re pregnant. It’s best to talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medication, even if it’s been prescribed for someone else.

  • Antibiotics and antifungals (such as amoxicillin, doxycycline and ketoconazole). These are generally safe to take during pregnancy, so long as they’re prescribed by your doctor for a specific condition. If not diagnosed by a physician, antibiotics may be linked with premature birth and low-birth weight babies in some studies.
  • Aspirin (81 mg), especially in the third trimester because of its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce fever during flu season. However, aspirin is known for causing bleeding problems in some women who take it—so check with your healthcare provider first before taking this drug while pregnant.* Birth control pills should also be used more cautiously while on birth control pills because they increase the risk of miscarriage; however they still remain an effective method of contraception when taken correctly.* Clomid (clomiphene citrate)is commonly used off label as part of infertility treatment; however there hasn’t been enough research done on whether or not clomid use increases miscarriages or premature births.* Diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide also cause dehydration which can lead to low blood pressure—and since women already experience small changes during pregnancy this could put them at risk if they already have low blood pressure issues beforehand.* Ibuprofen has been linked with spontaneous abortion early on but doesn’t appear dangerous later on; however check with your doctor before using this drug because he/she might recommend another one instead

Antihistamines and decongestants can be safe during pregnancy.

  • Antihistamines and decongestants can be safe during pregnancy.
  • When you have a cold, the last thing you want to do is take medication that might harm your baby. Decongestants and antihistamines are among the most commonly used over-the-counter medications for treating allergies and hay fever symptoms, but it’s important to know whether or not they’re safe during pregnancy before you reach for them.
  • Some decongestants are safe to use during pregnancy.

Decongestants are often used in combination with other medications (like antihistamines) because they both help relieve allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose. However, using any medication while pregnant requires careful consideration of risks versus benefits—so let’s look at what makes some decongestant medications okay in moderate amounts while others aren’t recommended at all:

Over-the-counter pain relievers are generally safe to use during pregnancy, as long as they are taken at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.

Over-the-counter pain relievers are generally safe to use during pregnancy, as long as they are taken at the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.

  • Take pain relievers exactly as recommended on the label.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose of a medicine unless advised by your doctor.
  • Do not take pain relievers for more than a few days unless advised by your doctor.

Acetaminophen is probably safe to take in the recommended doses during pregnancy.

Acetaminophen is probably safe to take in the recommended doses during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other over-the-counter medications. It’s also an ingredient in prescription drugs like Vicodin, Percocet, and Norco.

Acetaminophen is generally considered safe for pregnant women to take when used as directed on the label of a product. Studies show that taking acetaminophen during pregnancy does not increase your risk of having a baby with birth defects or developmental delays (1). However, it’s important to keep your daily total dose below 4 grams per day (2).

The FDA recommends that pregnant women limit their consumption of alcohol while they are trying to get pregnant and while they’re pregnant (3).

NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) are not recommended during pregnancy because they could reduce blood flow to the fetus and affect kidney function.

NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), are not recommended during pregnancy because they could reduce blood flow to the fetus and affect kidney function.

  • Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that you can get at the pharmacy without a prescription. It’s used to treat pain, fever, swelling and stiffness in joints caused by arthritis or injury.
  • Naproxen is used in over-the-counter medicine to relieve pain from arthritis.

There is a risk of complications with Tylenol with codeine, but it may be used if it’s absolutely necessary.

  • Take Tylenol with codeine as directed.
  • Don’t take more than 4 grams a day for more than 3 days at a time.
  • Don’t take it if you have liver or kidney problems, or if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Don’t take this medicine if you’re allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) products or are sensitive to other opioid medications such as morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), fentanyl, and others. Ask your doctor if any of these apply to you before taking this medication!

Certain antibiotics can be used safely when other options aren’t available or don’t work.

However, a few antibiotics are considered safe for pregnant women to take. These include:

  • Amoxicillin or amoxicillin-clavulanate (Augmentin)
  • Azithromycin (Zithromax)
  • Cefdinir (Omnicef)
  • Cefuroxime axetil (Ceftin)

These medications can be used safely when other options aren’t available or don’t work. Make sure you have a prescription from your doctor and follow these guidelines:

You may be able to take some medications while you’re pregnant but check with your doctor first.

You may be able to take some medications while you’re pregnant but check with your doctor first. There are many medications that are safe for use in pregnancy, but not all of them. If you’re taking a medication that wasn’t prescribed for you and you want to know if it’s okay to take while pregnant, ask your doctor. Some medications may be safe to take while pregnant under certain conditions—for example, only when absolutely necessary or at a certain point in the pregnancy—but not at other times (like right after conception).

Because many over-the-counter drugs aren’t studied as thoroughly as prescription drugs are before they go on the market, they aren’t necessarily considered safe during pregnancy and should therefore be avoided until more information becomes available.


As with any medication, check with your doctor before taking anything to make sure it’s safe for you.

Mucinex Pregnancy First Trimester


Andersen Ross Photography/Getty Images

If you’ve ever considered taking medicine while pregnant — or you’ve had the TV on long enough to hear the commercial line “tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding” — you’ll know there’s a giant disclaimer that comes with taking anything during pregnancy. Despite the big caveat and lack of medical research on pregnant people, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nine in 10 women will take at least one medicine during pregnancy. 

With allergy season approaching, and COVID-19 still here, many people are reaching for over-the-counter medication in the hopes of relieving congestion or getting through a cough. What about one of the most popular ones, Mucinex?

Mucinex is a brand of over-the-counter cold and flu medication, with products for cough and chest congestion, sinus congestion and more.

For Dr. Gloria Bachmann, an OB-GYN and the director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers University, the rule to follow is the same one she advises all pregnant people stick to, no matter the health concern or question: check with your doctor (or midwife, practitioner or other care provider). This is important not only before you consume a new medication, according to Bachmann, but also to make sure you don’t write off a more serious illness as a common cold, allergies or even a mild case of COVID-19. 

“You always have to weigh the risk versus the benefit,” Bachmann says. “Don’t dismiss it.” 

Mucinex Pregnancy Trick

While there’s not a lot of medical research to support this idea, anecdotal evidence suggests that one ingredient in some cough medications can help. The active ingredient in products like Mucinex (guaifenesin) may help you get pregnant by making your cervical fluid wetter and more slippery, which makes it easier for sperm to travel through your cervix to fertilize an egg.

If you’re tracking your basal body temperature and know that you’re ovulating, but you don’t seem to be producing much wet, slippery cervical fluid, taking guaifenesin may help you make more or thin out what you have.

How does it work? Guaifenesin is an expectorant. It’s used to relieve congestion by liquefying mucus in your lungs, allowing you to cough it up. And because it works systemically on all mucus in your body, it can make your cervical mucus more liquid, too.

If you want to try it, I recommend using Mucinex Expectorant or Guaifenesin Extended-Release 600 mg tablets, as directed on the box. Or take two teaspoons of plain Robitussin expectorant (with no extra letters) or a generic version of it, three times a day. (Check the labels to make sure there are no other active ingredients such as antihistamines or cough suppressants like dextromethorphan. These can dry up mucus, including cervical fluid.)

Start taking the medicine about four days before you expect to ovulate and continue until a day after your cervical fluid dries up.

Sudafed or Mucinex While Pregnant

Sudafed and Mucinex are two very popular over-the-counter (OTC) medications at treat symptoms associated with the common cold such as nasal and chest congestion, running nose and cough.

What are the main differences between Mucinex vs. Sudafed?

Sudafed contains a nasal decongestant called pseudoephedrine (there are also newer formulations containing phenylephrine, with Sudafed-PE as the brand name). Sudafed helps relieve a stuffy nose.

Mucinex (Mucinex coupons | Mucinex details) contains an expectorant called guaifenesin. Guaifenesin helps thin and loosen up chest congestion when you have a phlegmy cough. Some formulations of Mucinex also contain other ingredients like dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant. 

Although both medications treat common cold symptoms, Sudafed and Mucinex are quite different. It is important to note that there are many products on the shelves with multiple ingredients which include pseudoephedrine or guaifenesin or both, but we are just focusing on the single-ingredient product of Sudafed vs Mucinex here. While shopping at the pharmacy, the pharmacist can help you figure out which product(s) best suits your needs. 

Main differences between Mucinex vs. Sudafed
Drug classNasal decongestantExpectorant (for chest congestion, phlegmy cough) 
Brand/generic statusBrand and generic Brand and generic
What is the generic name?Pseudoephedrine Guaifenesin
What form(s) does the drug come in?Immediate release and long-acting tablets, children’s liquidTablets, liquid (children and adults versions available), mini melts for children
What is the standard dosage?Adults and children 12 years and older: 30 mg tabs, 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours as needed. Maximum 8 tablets in 24 hours
Adults and children 12 years and older: 120 mg extended-release tabs. 1 tablet every 12 hours as needed 
Adults: 600 mg extended-release tablets. 1-2 tablets every 12 hours with a full glass of water
How long is the typical treatment?Short-term, as needed for symptom reliefShort-term, as needed for symptom relief
Who typically uses the medication?Children 4 years of age and older, adultsChildren 4 years of age and older, adults

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Conditions treated by Sudafed and Mucinex

Sudafed (Sudafed coupons | Sudafed details) is a nasal decongestant used to temporarily relieve sinus congestion and pressure. It also temporarily relieves nasal congestion due to the common cold, hay fever, or other upper respiratory allergies. 
Mucinex is a chest decongestant, or expectorant, which helps loosen phlegm (mucus). It also helps thin bronchial secretions, helping you to cough up and get rid of mucus (sometimes called a productive cough).  

Temporary relief of sinus congestion & pressureYesNo
Temporary relief of nasal congestion due to common cold, hay fever, allergiesYesNo
Loosens phlegm and thins bronchial secretionsNoYes

Is Sudafed or Mucinex more effective?

Since Sudafed treats nasal congestion, and Mucinex treats chest congestion/productive cough, comparing their efficacy is like comparing apples to oranges, as they are different medications for different indications. However, we can look at each drug’s efficacy.

Sudafed has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for nasal congestion. Mucinex has been shown to be safe and effective in treating chest congestion.

Both Sudafed and Mucinex can be very effective in their respective treatments; however, when choosing a medication for yourself, it is always best to check with your healthcare provider who has your full medical history and can help you select the most appropriate medication. 

Coverage and cost comparison of Sudafed vs. Mucinex

Sudafed is not typically covered by insurance or Medicare Part D. A standard dosage that you may purchase at the pharmacy is a box of 24 tablets (30 mg), with a typical price of $5-10. 

Mucinex is also not typically covered by insurance or Medicare Part D. A standard dosage for purchase at the pharmacy is a box of 20 tablets (600 mg, extended-release), with a typical price of $10-15. 

You can use a SingleCare card to save on Sudafed or Mucinex. 

Typically covered by insurance?NoNo
Typically covered by Medicare Part D?NoNo
Standard dosageBox of 24, 30 mg tabletsBox of 20, 600 mg tablets
Typical Medicare Part D copayN/aN/a
SingleCare cost$4-5$11-12

Common side effects of Sudafed and Mucinex

Common side effects of Sudafed include nervousness, restlessness, and trouble sleeping. Less common side effects may include headache, increased heartbeat, or painful urination.

With Mucinex, side effects are rare but may include dizziness, headache, diarrhea, or nausea. 

Whether you take Sudafed or Mucinex, be sure to follow the package directions and do not exceed the maximum recommended dose. If you have side effects that are bothersome, stop the medication and consult your healthcare provider. 

Drug interactions of Sudafed vs. Mucinex

Patients who take a prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as selegiline or tranylcypromine, should not use Sudafed at the same time, or for two weeks after stopping the MAOI. 

Sudafed also interacts with certain antidepressants such as Elavil (amitriptyline) or Desyrel (trazodone). You should also check with your doctor if you take certain drugs such as Xanax (alprazolam), headache medication such as Fioricet, ADHD medications, and painkillers. The list of medications that may potentially interact with Sudafed is too long to list here; consult your healthcare provider for more information. 

Mucinex (guaifenesin) alone does not have any significant drug interactions, but there are drug interactions with the combination products that contain guaifenesin with other medications, such as Mucinex-DM or Mucinex-D. Consult your healthcare provider for guidance. 

Drug classDrug(s)SudafedMucinex
MAOIEldepryl (selegiline), Parnate (tranylcypromine)YesNo
Other antidepressantsDesyrel (trazodone), Elavil (amitriptyline), Pamelor (nortriptyline)YesNo
BenzodiazepinesXanax (alprazolam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam)YesNo
Headache treatmentsFioricet (butalbital), acetaminophen, caffeine, YesNo
PainkillersCodeinemethadoneoxycodone, Ultram (tramadol)YesNo
ADHD medicationsVyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)YesNo

Warnings of Sudafed and Mucinex

Sudafed has some warnings to be mindful of. It may cause nervousness, dizziness, or sleeplessness. As stated above, if you take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), such as selegiline or tranylcypromine, do not take Sudafed. Also, allow two weeks after stopping the MAOI before using Sudafed. 

If you have certain health conditions, you should check with your doctor before using Sudafed. These include heart problems, high blood pressure (hypertension), thyroid disease, diabetes, or enlarged prostate. 

Sudafed should not be used in the first trimester of pregnancy. You may be able to use Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) in the second or third trimester but would need to consult your healthcare provider. Sudafed may be used occasionally while breastfeeding, but only if your doctor approves. Sudafed-PE (phenylephrine) should not be used during pregnancy. 

Mucinex also has several warnings. You should consult your healthcare provider before using Mucinex if you have a persistent or chronic cough like the type that occurs with smoking, asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema; or a cough accompanied by a very large amount of mucus.

Mucinex extended-release tablets should not be crushed or chewed. The tablet should be taken with a full glass of water. Mucinex may be used in pregnancy, and with caution during breastfeeding, as long as your healthcare provider approves. Children under age four should not take cold medications such as Sudafed or Mucinex. Consult your healthcare provider for advice. 

Sudafed or Mucinex can be helpful in managing symptoms; however, they do not treat bacterial infections, such as a sinus infection. If your symptoms are severe or do not improve, be sure to see your doctor because you may need antibiotics. 

Frequently asked questions about Sudafed vs. Mucinex

What is Sudafed?

Sudafed contains a nasal decongestant called pseudoephedrine. It helps relieve a stuffy nose due to the common cold, hay fever, or other upper respiratory allergies. 

What is Mucinex?

Mucinex contains an expectorant called guaifenesin. Guaifenesin helps thin and loosen up chest congestion when you have a phlegmy, or productive, cough.

Are Sudafed and Mucinex the same?

No. Sudafed contains pseudoephedrine and is used for nasal congestion or a stuffy nose. Mucinex contains guaifenesin and is used to loosen chest congestion. 

Is Sudafed or Mucinex better?

Each medication is used for a different purpose. If you are experiencing nasal congestion, and you do not have any of the health conditions listed in the warnings above, you may want to take Sudafed. And if you are coughing up a lot of phlegm, you may want to take Mucinex. 

Can I use Sudafed or Mucinex while pregnant?

Consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice. Generally, Sudafed cannot be taken in the first trimester but can be taken occasionally during the second and third trimester provided you do not have heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Sudafed-PE (phenylephrine) is not recommended in pregnancy. 

Mucinex can usually be used safely in pregnancy. Again, be sure to check with your doctor before using Sudafed or Mucinex while pregnant. 

Can I use Sudafed or Mucinex with alcohol?

It is best to avoid alcohol while taking these medications. Some forms of Sudafed or Mucinex come as a combination medication, with several medications in one. Alcohol can intensify the effect of some of these medications, worsen side effects, and cause additional impairment. It is safer to wait until you are feeling better before drinking alcohol.

Can Mucinex and Sudafed be taken together?

You can take them both together if you have nasal congestion as well as a phlegmy cough. 

Is Sudafed or Mucinex better for post nasal drip?

It depends on what symptoms you are experiencing. If you feel like you have a lot of phlegm, Mucinex may be worth a try. If the drip is accompanied by nasal congestion, you can try Sudafed. You can also try to use a humidifier in your room, drink a lot of fluids, use a nasal irrigation solution, and sleep with your head propped up on pillows. 

Is Mucinex a decongestant?

Mucinex is considered a chest decongestant because it loosens up mucus and helps you cough it up. It is not helpful if you have a stuffy nose or nasal congestion. 

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