Translate
Translate this website into the following languages:



Close Tab
Donations
UC San Diego Health
menu iconMenu
search iconSearch

UC San Diego Experts Issue Warning About Cold Medications in Pregnancy

 

December 14, 2011  |  

Non-Profit Lists Top Remedy Tips For Moms Battling Colds This Holiday Season

Experts in pregnancy and breastfeeding health at the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS) Pregnancy Health Information Line warn expectant moms about the potential dangers of common cold medicines during pregnancy. CTIS is a California non-profit housed at the University of California, San Diego that educates the public about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

"Every year around this time, we get a significant number of calls from pregnant and breastfeeding women in California who are battling colds and are worried about which meds they can and can't take," said Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego and CTIS program director.

"The callers I’ve personally spoken to have valid concerns because there are certain ingredients in over-the-counter medications they need to watch out for that could be harmful to their developing babies," explained Sonia Alvarado, CTIS supervising counselor who takes calls through the service’s toll-free hotline and online chat service. As a result of the potential for harm, Dr. Chambers and Alvarado have compiled a list of helpful tips for moms and moms-to-be battling colds this holiday season.

Top Five Cold Remedy Tips During Pregnancy:

  1. Less is More. Remember that “less is more," or rather, less is more recommendable when it comes to treating colds during pregnancy. Take only those medications that are needed for your specific symptoms. Many cold remedies have three to six ingredients, some of which you (and your developing baby) do not need. If your major complaint is a cough, for example, then avoid a combination drug that includes a nasal decongestant, an extra medication you can do without.
  2. Oral Decongestion Alternatives. While the majority of studies looking at oral decongestants during pregnancy are reassuring with first trimester use, it's still best to avoid them in the first trimester due to a possible very low risk for vascular issues in the fetus. Pregnant women could consider saline drops or a short-term nasal spray decongestant alternative.
  3. Herbal Ingredient Warning. Watch out for herbal ingredients in many over-the-counter medications. Chances are they have not been studied in pregnancy.
  4. Throat Lozenges and Vitamin Overload. Throat lozenges contain mostly sugar, however, some may contain other ingredients such as zinc or vitamin C. When taking vitamin C, the recommended daily allowance during pregnancy is 80-100 mg per day and zinc is only 11 mg per day.
  5. Cough Syrups and Alcohol. Some cough syrups contain up to 10 percent alcohol. Get alcohol-free cough syrup. Your developing baby doesn’t need the alcohol exposure in addition to the other medications.

In California, questions women or health care providers have about specific cold medications and other exposures during pregnancy or breastfeeding can be directed to CTIS Pregnancy Health Information Line counselors at 800-532-3749 or via instant message counseling at CTISPregnancy.org. Outside of California, please call CTIS’ national affiliate, the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), at 866-626-6847.

# # #

Media Contact: Nicole Chavez, 619-368-3259, ncchavez@ucsd.edu
Spanish-speaking interviews available


Related Specialties

Pediatrics



Media Contact

Share This Article


Related News

9/26/2016
Removing plaque from clogged arteries is a common procedure that can save and improve lives. This treatment approach was recently made even safer and more effective with a new, high-tech catheter that ...
9/23/2016
A three-part series published in The Lancet and released in conjunction with the United Nations quantifies health gains achieved if cities were designed so that shops, facilities, work and public tran ...
9/20/2016
University of California researchers to hold meeting in San Diego to discuss hematologic malignancies as part of the University of California Hematologic Malignancies Consortium, a first-of-its-kind r ...
9/20/2016
Loneliness is linked to poor physical and mental health, and is an even more accurate predictor of early death than obesity. To better understand who is at risk, researchers at University of Californi ...



Follow Us

Our bimonthly newsletter delivers healthy lifestyle tips, patient stories and research discovery news. Subscribe: