When you fall pregnant, it looks like everything around you is off-limits: soft cheese, caffeine, and sushi – the list is endless. And you know what? You cannot simply reach and use the medication you are used to. For example, Advil has been linked to increased rates of birth defects. This puts you in a precarious situation because your system tones down immunity during pregnancy to prevent it from fighting the baby as a foreign body.
With a compromised immunity, one of the problems likely to affect you is cold. This brings us to the primary question: “Can you take cough drops when pregnant?”
So, Can You Use Cough Drops when Pregnant?
Cough drops are one of the common over-the-counter medications for short-term relief from flu and sore throat. The medication is considered okay to use during pregnancy because most ingredients are safe. But it is worth noting that limited research has been done to evaluate the effects of cough drops on pregnancy.
- The active ingredient used to make cough drops is menthol. Menthol works by cooling the throat and suppressing irritation. But it is prudent to point that limited studies have been done to establish the impacts of menthol on pregnancy.
- Inactive ingredients. In addition to the main active ingredient, most cough drops also have inactive ingredients such as herbs. Common ingredients in this category include peppermint, sage, thyme, and hyssop. Again, there is very little research on the effects of these herbs on pregnancy.
What Cough Drops Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?
While it is true that most cough drops are safe, there are some brands that you should avoid. If cough drops contain high levels of alcohol, steer away from them. For example, some cough drops have up to 10% alcohol, which is not safe. Instead, consider going for alcohol-free types.
If you have a problem such as gestational, type-1, or type-2 diabetes, it is advisable to stay away from cough drops that have sweeteners such as corn syrup. The sweeteners are likely to increase blood sugar levels and make diabetes management more difficult.
What Alternative Should You Consider Instead of Cough Drops?
When flu develops during pregnancy, it lasts between 10 and 14 days. And you know what? A new cold could set in just as the current one is ebbing out. So you should go for the right treatment right away. If you do not want to use cough drops, here are some alternatives to consider.
- Rest. When you take rest, most of the body activities slow down and allow the immune system to suppress the cold.
- Eat the right food. While it is true that your appetite might be low, especially during the first trimester, getting a healthy diet can help to suppress cold. Be sure to increase foods such as melons, mangos, oranges, and grapefruits that supply vitamin C.
- Take ample drinks. When flu attacks, the body loses a lot of water. This is risky because your body requires a lot of water to move waste and develop more amniotic fluid. Therefore, make sure to have hot beverages nearby all the time. Chicken soup and ginger tea will also be okay.
- Use saline nose drops. When suffering from flu and colds, the throat starts running dry as the body loses a lot of water. Using saline drops can help to keep the nasal passages moist and relieve you from some symptoms of a cold. Note that since saline drops are not medicated, you are free to use them on demand.
The Bottom Line
When flue and cold accost you during pregnancy, it can be a serious nightmare. But before you can think of stocking cough drops, it is important to pause and think about it. Although they are indeed safe, it is advisable to talk to your doctor first. The doctor will check your situation, establish whether everything is okay, and give you the best medication. To make your pregnancy more blissful, keep the doctor as close as possible!