Today there is much discussion and controversy about the use of medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We advocate not taking anything unless absolutely necessary. Be sure and speak with a pharmacist if you have questions regarding any medication, especially if there is a combination in one medication. If you are breastfeeding, the lactation consultants also have information on the safety of various medications and how the medications may affect your supply. The following are some suggestions for common problems (all dosages of medications should be taken according to manufacturer’s recommendations):
- Headache, aches and pain – during pregnancy, moms can take acetaminophen (Tylenol); during breastfeeding, moms can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil).
- Colds – drink plenty of fluids and rest. Use medications with caution. If blood pressure or thyroid problems, consult physician. Avoid combination products. Buy individual agents and use only what medications you need to treat your symptom. Pregnant moms can take Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) for nasal congestion and Chlorpheniramine (Chlortrimeton) (daytime use) and Diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl) (nighttime use).
- Cough – drink plenty of fluids. Rest. Use a cool steamer. Hard candy for dry throat. Pregnant and breastfeeding moms can take Guaifenesin (Robitussin), for a more productive cough. To suppress a cough, try Guaifenesin/dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM) or Delsym.
- Sore throat – gargle with a warm salt solution. Use hard candy, may try lozenges if needed. If a sore throat persists call for a throat culture. Drink plenty of fluids. Both pregnant and breastfeeding moms can take Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Lozenges or troches are over-the-counter products that can be purchased without a prescription.
- Flu – stay home and rest. Treat symptoms as they develop. For vomiting and diarrhea you may take clear liquids (ice chips, 7-up, tea, cola, Jell-o, broth). You may add food gradually after 24-48 hours (start with bland foods such as soda crackers). If you experience diarrhea, whether pregnant or breastfeeding, both Loperamide (Imodium) and Bismuth subsalicylate (Kaopectate) are acceptable. Nursing moms can continue to nurse their baby.
- Constipation – drink plenty of fluids. Add fiber to your diet (fruit, vegetables, bran, and wheat bread). Metamucil, natural bran, Docusate (Colace, which is a stool softener) and Milk of Magnesia are good options for moms who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
- Heartburn – See common discomforts. Antacids (Mylanta, Maalox, Tums), Simethicone ( Gas-X), Ranitidine (Zantac) and Famotidine (Pepcid) are all acceptable whether pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Allergies – Claritin or Zyrtec are recommended for pregnant moms. These products are not recommended for lactating mothers as it can reduce milk supply.