One of the dilemmas pregnant women face, especially in cold season, is the decision on what drugs to take although there are several available over-the-counter medications, in pregnancy, not all medications are safe as they can pose a potential threat to you and your baby.
Doctors have made a list of OTC drugs that you can take to treat colds and flu while pregnant. Is Nyquil one of them? In this article, you’ll find out if it’s okay to take Nyquil while pregnant, possible ways to manage a cold while pregnant, and a list of other safe OTC medications you can take to treat your cold while pregnant.
Is it Okay to Have A Cold and Cough While Pregnant? If it’s your first time getting pregnant, experiencing cold and flu symptoms may seem strange, however, cold and flu one of the common illnesses experienced during pregnancy.
In pregnancy, you tend to become more susceptible to serious infections such as the flu. Symptoms of cold and flu, such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever, can be extremely discomforting, especially coupled with pregnancy hormones.
But you don’t need to panic. According to March of Dimes, catching a cold will not harm you or your fetus, and you should recover within a week or so.
What is Nyquil?
Nyquil has become a popular OTC medication that helps in relieving symptoms of nighttime cold and flu symptoms such as sore throat, headache, major aches, fever, runny nose, and cough. Nyquil can also relieve symptoms of allergies such as watery eyes, and sneezing.
It is available in both liquid and pill forms, however, the liquid form is more famous. Nyquil is made up of 3 active ingredients: Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, and Doxylamine succinate. These ingredients all play a role in relieving symptoms of colds, flu, and allergies.
- Acetaminophen: Is an analgesic, it helps with pain and reduces fever.
- Dextromethorphan: Is a cough suppressant that works by stopping your brain from sending coughing signals to your body, so doing it reduces your urge to cough.
- Doxylamine succinate: Is an antihistamine. Antihistamines are chemicals that block the action of histamine, a natural neurotransmitter that is secreted in the body whenever you come in contact with substances you’re allergic to. So by blocking histamine, antihistamine help with managing allergies.
Nyquil Side Effects
Although Nyquil is an effective cold and flu drug, like most drugs you may experience some side effects while taking it.
Nyquil’s side effects may either be mild or severe. Some common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
Meanwhile, in more serious cases you may experience:
- Skin redness
- Irregular heartbeat
- Problem urinating
- Liver damage
Side effects should disappear after some time of taking the drug, but if it doesn’t, and gets worse, seek immediate medical attention. Also, inform your doctor if you notice any discomfort while taking the drug as this is not the full list of possible Nyquil side effects.
Who Should Take Nyquil?
Nyquil is an OTC drug, so you can easily get it so long as you’re an adult, children under the age of 12 should not be given Nyquil, however, to avoid drug interactions that may result in adverse drug reactions of the drug, if you’re on any of these medications consult your doctor before using Nyquil. Also, under certain medical conditions, you shouldn’t take Nyquil, unless your doctor recommends it.
- Blood thinners such as warfarin
- Other drugs containinacetaminophenen
Medical conditions such as:
- Heart problem
- Liver problems
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid disease
Can I Take Nyquil While Pregnant?
Some Nyquil products such as Nyquil Liquid contain some percentage of alcohol, and considering some of the side effects of the drug, it is wise to wonder if you can take it while pregnant. Now to answer your question “can I take Nyquil while pregnant?” Taking Nyquil while you’re pregnant, could be safe, however, this depends on the type of Nyquil product you’re using.
For instance, Nyquil Severe Cold and Flu contain phenylephrine and alcohol, and not only is alcohol not recommended for pregnant women, but phenylephrine also is not an acceptable drug to be used during pregnancy.
However, other basic Nyquil products containing only the 3 major active ingredients that have been listed, can be used in pregnancy, without risk of danger to yourself or your baby as both Acetaminophen and Dextromethorphan have been recognized as safe medications during pregnancy, by doctors.
Why You Should Not Take Nyquil When Pregnant
Just as we’ve said, the only Nyquil products that you shouldn’t take while pregnant, are those containing alcohol and phenylephrine. The reason phenylephrine is not a safe drug component for pregnant women is that it is a decongestant, and as such can narrow your blood vessels to prevent sneezing, coughing, and runny nose.
And while all these sound like just the relief you need, if you’re pregnant, especially in your first trimester, the narrowing of your blood vessels by phenylephrine, can also reduce the amount of oxygen circulating in your body, therefore leading to decreased supply of oxygen for your developing baby.
A decrease in oxygen supply can affect the development of a fetus, which may result in certain birth defects or death of the fetus. Nevertheless, no matter what Nyquil product you intend to use, always get confirmation from your doctor.
How To Manage Cold While Pregnant
Although there are lists of OTC cold and flu drugs doctors consider safe for pregnant women, generally, doctors prefer and recommend that pregnant women should not take any OTC medications, to minimize pregnancy risks. However, that doesn’t mean that without the pills or the liquids, you can’t manage cold symptoms while pregnant.
There are several ways to manage cold symptoms without using any drugs, but here are a few tips to help you:
1. Drink Lots of Water
The cold leaves you feeling dry and the mucous in your nasal passages may be difficult to clear out. Staying hydrated at all times helps reverse this effect, so you can also breathe well.
2. Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and even in vegetables. Taking Vitamin C will give your immune system the boost it needs to make you feel better on time. You can find Vitamin C in mangoes, oranges, spinach, and broccoli.
3. Have Enough Time to Rest
Being pregnant and having a cold can be very discomforting and stressful, but try as you can to have plenty of rest, and take care of yourself.
4. Use Humidifiers
You can also use room humidifiers to help clear your stuffy nose and promote cough.
5. Eat Foods Rich in Zinc
Zinc is also another important component you should add to your diet. Like Vitamin C, zinc will help strengthen your immune system. Besides as a pregnant woman you should get 11-15 mg of zinc per day. You can get zinc from eggs, yogurt, beef, and turkey. Prenatal vitamins also contain zinc.
6. Perform Mild Exercises
Simple and easy exercises like walking around the house can bring oxygen to your lungs, increase your metabolism and boost your immune system.
What Medications Are Safe During Pregnancy
If you feel taking drugs is the better option then first get your doctor’s opinion on what drugs to take that will be safe for you and your baby. Your doctor will check for any medical condition you may have, consider the severity of possible side effects, and if your supplements or any other medication you may be on, will interact with any cold drug they may recommend.
However, here are some OTC drugs that are considered safe for treating colds while pregnant:
- Suda fed
- Saline nasal drops or sprays
Can I Take Nyquil While Breastfeeding?
The answer to this is similar to the answer to “can I take Nyquil while pregnant?” You can take Nyquil while breastfeeding, however, don’t take any Nyquil product containing alcohol or phenylephrine. Although the amount of alcohol contained in cold medicines is usually quite small, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that breastfeeding mothers don’t take any alcohol, from any source.
Phenylephrine, on the other hand, has been found to cause a decrease in milk production, this can make breastfeeding difficult, especially if you’re thinking of pumping milk for another person to feed your baby while you’re away or resting. If you must take any drug while breastfeeding, always check to know that it is alcohol-free, or simply get your doctor’s recommendation.
Can I take Nyquil while pregnant? Yes, so long as it is both alcohol and phenylephrine free, to prevent causing your baby from developing poorly.
Also, if you have any medical condition, or you’re on any drug, let your doctor know before you start taking Nyquil as some medical conditions and some drugs can interact negatively with Nyquil. Overall, get your doctor’s recommendation on what drugs to take while pregnant.