Five Over-The-Counter Drugs You Must Avoid While Pregnant

While some over-the-counter drugs are perfectly safe to take while you are expecting, others are not acceptable at all. Some drugs can harm the development of the fetus, while others may increase the risk of low birth weight or miscarriage. If you or a loved one is pregnant, here are five over-the-counter drugs to avoid entirely.

Anything Containing Aspirin

When a woman is pregnant, she could begin to bleed at any time. Whether it’s something relatively minor like a benign polyp or a more dangerous condition such as placenta previa, a pregnant woman does not want to have any problems with clotting. Aspirin thins the blood, making it harder for even small wounds to clot. What’s worse, aspirin can also delay the onset of labor in full-term pregnancies, stall the frequency and strength of the contractions and cause bleeding problems when the baby’s umbilical cord is cut. Avoid all painkillers containing aspirin to keep the mother and baby safe.

Any Form of Alcohol

Most women know to avoid beer, wine and hard liquor when they are expecting, but may not think twice about taking cold medicine. Read the label carefully. Some cough syrups have as much alcohol in them as a small glass of wine! Alcohol during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, premature birth and fetal alcohol syndrome, just to name a few possibilities. Any pregnant woman suffering from a cold should ask her doctor about safe cold medicines.

Nose Spray Containing Oxymetazoline

Ottawa personal injury law firm Zuber & Brioux Law Offices urges pregnant women to read the labeling of nose sprays very carefully. Oxymetazoline works by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. It can also constrict blood flow to the baby, making it completely inappropriate for pregnant women. Regular saline nose spray is safe for everyone and is an excellent alternative.

Sleep Aids

Pregnant women may find it hard to sleep, especially once the baby starts kicking. The temptation to reach for a sleep aid can be overwhelming. However, sleep aids depress the central nervous system and are not generally considered safe for pregnant women. Warm milk, meditation or a warm bath can be excellent options to bring on sleep.

Caffeine Exceeding 200mg a Day

While the occasional cup of coffee, containing approximately 95mg of caffeine, will likely do no harm, pregnant women should be on the lookout for caffeine they may not be aware they are ingesting. Caffeine is added to cold medicines, some mixed teas, chocolates and sodas. Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause a miscarriage or early labor.

Some drugs that are perfectly safe at other times can have disastrous effects on a pregnant woman. If you or a loved one is expecting, talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medication.