While pregnant and when trying to get pregnant, avoid using any
medicines or dietary supplements unless your health professional prescribes or
recommends them. Nonprescription medicines are generally not well studied for
use during pregnancy. However, some medicines have been widely used with no ill
effects and are therefore thought to be safe. For example, acetaminophen (such
as Tylenol) is safe at recommended doses to relieve fever or treat pain.
If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, follow these guidelines
about medicine use, and be sure to check with your health professional before
Avoid medicine use
before the second
trimester if at all possible. The first trimester is
the most high-risk period for taking medicine. This is when early cellular
placenta growth, and organ development are taking
Some cold and allergy medicines are thought to be safe
during pregnancy. But many
health professionals discourage their use unless absolutely necessary. If your
symptoms are severe, talk to your health professional about the right cold or
allergy treatment for you.
Some complementary and alternative
medicines, such as herbs or vitamin and mineral supplements, are safe during
pregnancy. Many are not, and some supplements are dangerous when taken in too
high a dose.
Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) is considered safe for pain or fever relief during
pregnancy. But too much Tylenol can damage your
liver. And its safety profile is based on wide use, rather than a lot of
medical research. Check with your health professional before using it.
There are a lot of medicines that are not safe to use when you're
pregnant. Common medicines to avoid include:
The antidepressants Paxil and Paxil CR (paroxetine). The
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on paroxetine and
birth defects. One study has shown that women who took Paxil during their first
12 weeks of pregnancy had a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth
The acne medicine called isotretinoin (such as Sotret).
This medicine causes birth defects.
The heart medicines called ACE
inhibitors (such as lisinopril, also known as Prinivil, Zestoretic, and
Zestril). This type of medicine causes birth defects.
Information about medicine safety during pregnancy sometimes
changes with new research, so be sure to check with your health professional
before taking something that you've heard was safe in the past.
Use of cocaine or methamphetamine during pregnancy can cause fetal
harm or death resulting from:
Placenta abruptio, which is the
separation of the placenta from the uterus before a baby is
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How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.