15 Medicines to Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very delicate stage in a woman’s life. Giving birth to a child is a magical moment for every woman. So during those 9 months, the mother should take care of herself, so that the baby is healthy in her womb.

The use of over-the-counter medications is very common among pregnant women. Although most over-the-counter drugs are safe, some of them are known to adversely affect the foetus, and are thus unsafe. According to Allen Mitchell, M.D. professor of paediatrics and epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health and Medicine,” There’s a misperception that if a drug is available over-the-counter, that it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration, so it must be safe for everyone, including pregnant women”. But some OTC drugs have shown to create risks, for the developing foetus, at different stages of pregnancy. When you are pregnant you should think twice before using any OTC medication.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

So here are 15 medicines, which you should absolutely avoid during your pregnancy.

Pain medications

The most commonly used OTC pain medications are aspirin and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen, is widely used during pregnancy. Although, the medicine has no clear association with teratogenicity, its extensive use in pregnancy combined with the paucity of documented adverse effects, has served to validate its selection as a pain reliever during pregnancy.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

NSAIDs are a kind of pain relievers and include medicines like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Ketoprofen (Orudis) and Naproxen (Aleve). Children, whose mothers have used these pain relievers during their pregnancy, tend to have higher risk for asthma, behaviour problems and attention deficit disorder.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Pregnant women should avoid using salicylates, as they have been associated with increased perinatal mortality, neonatal haemorrhage, decreased birth weight, prolonged gestation and labor and birth defects.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Indomethacin (Indocin), is a NSAID, commonly used during pregnancy. But the use of Indomethacin may result in oligohydramnios, premature closure of the foetal ductus arteriosus with subsequent persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, foetal nephrotoxicity and periventricular haemorrhage.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

Cold medications

The most commonly used cold medications are decongestants and expectorants such as pseudoephedrine (Novafed), guaifenesin (Humibid L.A.), and dextromethorphan (Benylin DM). The use of vasoconstrictive agents in these medicines may activate alpha-adrenergic receptors, elevating blood pressure, causing vasoconstriction in the uterine arteries and adversely affecting the blood flow to the foetus.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


This drug is commonly used as a sedative, antihistamine and anti-nausea drug, during pregnancy. The drug has been shown to have oxytocin-like effects.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Pseudoephedrine is a common asthma and allergy medicine used during pregnancy, but due to its association with gastroschisis, the medicine should be avoided by pregnant women, especially during first trimester.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

Medicines having caffeine drug

According to doctors, excessive intake of caffeine in any way, even through your medicines, may lead to miscarriage.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

MAO Inhibitors

Felling depressed during pregnancy is a very common thing. Antidepressants, that have MAO Inhibitors, such as Isocarboxazid or Phenelzine, are not safe to use during pregnancy as they have serious adverse effects on the foetus.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Anticonvulsants, such as diazepam or Clonazepam are not safe for use during pregnancy. If you are in dire need of anticonvulsants, then you have to work with your doctor to find an alternative medicine.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Not all tranquilizers are safe to take during pregnancy. Tranquilizers such as Librium and Valium are not safe for use during pregnancy.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


The use of antibiotics during pregnancy is very common, but not all antibiotics are safe for a pregnant woman. Tetracycline and Streptomycin, shouldn’t be used during pregnancy.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

Ace medications

Most women have ace problems, and take prescribed medicines for it. But during pregnancy one should avoid acne medicines such as Accutane and Retin-A. Because once your hormones adjust, your skin will naturally start clearing.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Yeast infection during pregnancy is very common in women. Some OTC infection remedies are not cleared for use during pregnancy as they can cause serious health effects. So the best way is to consult your OB/GYN for a healthy remedy.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy


Alka-Seltzer Plus Day, Vicks Dayquil Cold and Flu Relief are some of the products containing Phenylephrine. This drug shouldn’t be used during pregnancy as it causes sleeping problems, dizziness, and light-headedness, shaking heartbeats and reduced blood flow.

medicines to avoid during pregnancy

So ladies, be safe and eat proper prescribed medicines during pregnancy, so that your child doesn’t have to suffer the wrath of your mistakes.

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