General Health Tips During Your Pregnancy
Below are some general health tips to follow during your pregnancy. We have also provided a list of over-the-counter medications you can take while pregnant, as well as a list of products to avoid.
- It is best if you do not use any medications during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy, unless recommended for a specific condition. It is a general rule that you should avoid medications during pregnancy unless indicated but, if a specific condition develops, there are a number of medications that have been widely used for years and have been demonstrated to have a wide margin of safety. See the lists below for reference.
- Take your prenatal vitamins daily, about two hours after eating, with water or 100% fruit juice. Do not take them first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you are unable to find a prenatal vitamin that you can tolerate, take two children's chewable vitamins as a substitute (together or separately as with a prenatal vitamin: two hours after eating with water or 100% fruit juice).
- We recommend that you decrease your intake of caffeinated drinks to two servings per day (including coffee, tea, and soda with caffeine) during pregnancy. If you are a heavy user, decrease gradually to prevent caffeine withdrawal headaches.
- Avoid alcohol. There is no amount that is considered safe.
- Nausea and vomiting are common in early pregnancy. Try the suggestions listed on the "Tips for Morning Sickness" information sheet. If nothing stays in your stomach for greater than 48 hours after following the information sheet's recommendations, call the triage nurse or provider on call.
- If you get a minor illness, such as a cold, runny nose, mild sore throat, slight fever (temperature under 100.4° that lasts less than 3 days), chills, muscle aches, or headache, the medications below can be used.
- If a fever (temperature of 100.4° or greater) develops, take extra strength Tylenol (two pills every three to four hours) to keep your temperature less than 100.4°.
Guidelines for Over-the-Counter Medications
Follow the directions on the package and do not exceed the recommended dose.
Any products in the following families of drugs are safe during pregnancy:
- Tylenol (e.g., Tylenol Severe Cold and Sinus)
Other comfort measures for colds include:
- Use salt water nasal drops.
- Apply a warm, wet compress to your sinuses to help them open and draining.
- Keep room heat on a lower setting; it helps keep the air from being too dry.
- A vaporizer or humidifier can help keep moisture in the air; sleep on extra pillows to keep your head elevated.
- Be sure to drink lots of fluids, such as 100% fruit juices and water to help keep you will hydrated.
- Cough drops
- Throat lozenges
- Chloraseptic spray
- Throat lozenges
- Warm salt water gargles
- Avoid foods containing milk products and caffeine.
- Immodium AD
- Kaopectate (although has not been shown to be as effective as Immodium)
- Colace 100mg tablets twice a day
- Unrefined bran 1-2 teaspoons twice daily
- Uncle Sam's cereal
Milk of Magnesia or a Fleets enema at bedtime if condition unresolved by other methods
- Tucks – may want to keep them cool in refrigerator for increased pain relief
- Anusol HC cream and suppositories
- Ice packs
- Liquid remedies work more effectively for rapid relief than do tablets
- Products containing simethicone
- Mylanta Complete
- Maalox Max
- Pepcid AC
- Pepcid Complete
- Tylenol - Regular Strength - 2 tablets every 4-6 hours
- Tylenol – Extra Strength - 2 tablets every 4-6 hours
- Aspirin products
- Ibuprofen products, such as Advil, Nuprin, and Motrin IB
- Naproxen products, such as Aleve or Anaprox, unless directed to take by your provider
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A great resource for gynecology patients and expectant moms, our online patient education library contains information on numerous women’s health topics to help you understand your condition or upcoming treatment.