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Medication and Substance Use during Pregnancy

Smoking

Smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes should be avoided during pregnancy. Women who smoke have an added risk of miscarriage because tobacco increases the risk of problems with the placenta and its potential to tear away from the uterine wall (abruption). Smoking also increases the risk of your baby being born prematurely and at a low birth weight. Babies of moms who smoke are at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and certain birth defects (i.e., cleft lip). Please stop smoking during pregnancy. Call 800-quit-now for help or talk with your health care provider.

PREGNANCY IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADOPT HEALTHY HABITS AND MAKE LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT CAN LAST A LIFETIME, BENEFITING YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY.

Drug Use

Oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax, Valium, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and illicit drugs must be avoided during pregnancy. They can cause premature birth and low birth weight. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is seen in babies born to mothers who use these medications/drugs during pregnancy. The baby becomes addicted to the drug during pregnancy and then, at birth, goes through withdrawal, experiencing multiple symptoms (i.e., crying, diarrhea, etc.), frequently leading to a prolonged stay in the neonatal ICU for detoxification.

Alcohol

Alcohol should also be avoided during pregnancy. There is no known safe limit. In the United States, substance abuse—including alcohol consumption—during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability in children. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is characterized by a cluster of symptoms including low birth weight, facial deformities, small head size, low IQ and behavioral problems. Heavy drinking (more than 2 drinks per day) or binge drinking (more than 5 drinks on one occasion) can lead to FAS. Even moderate drinking (1–2 drinks per day) has been associated with attention deficit and memory problems in children.

Medication Use during Pregnancy

Even some over-the-counter medications aren’t safe in pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer during common illnesses or the typical discomforts of pregnancy. Below is a list of common problems and over-the-counter medications considered safe to use for them. If you develop symptoms with a fever, symptoms of depression or anxiety, or any other sign of illness, consult with your doctor. Many prescription medications, including some antibiotics and antidepressants, are also safe to use in pregnancy.

SYMPTOM

MEDICATIONS SAFE TO USE AS DIRECTED

Insomnia

Tylenol® PM, Benadryl,® Unisom®

Constipation prevention – fiber supplements

FiberCon,® Fiber Choice, ® Metamucil, ® Citrucel, ® All Bran® or Fiber One® cereal.

Constipation treatment – stool softeners

Colace® or Surfak®

Constipation treatment laxatives

Miralax®

Constipation treatment suppositories

Glycerin or Dulcolax®

Constipation treatment enemas

Fleet®

Cough & cold

Robitussin,® Robitussin DM, cough drops

Congestion

Sudafed,® Actifed,® Tylenol Sinus AM or PM, Tylenol Cold, Benadryl, Vicks® VapoRub, Claritin® or Claritin D, Mucinex®

Nosebleeds

Saline spray or drops, humidifier

Headache or pain

Tylenol or Tylenol Extra-Strength

Sore throat

Tylenol, Tylenol Extra-Strength, cough drops, Chloraseptic®

Diarrhea

Imodium® AD

Acne

Benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil®) or salicylic acid products

Indigestion

TUMS,® Mylanta,® Gaviscon,® Zantac,® Tagamet® or Pepcid® AC, Prilosec OTC,® Prevacid®

Nausea

Emetrol,® Unison,® Vitamin B6, Ginger capsules

Round ligament pain

Tylenol or Tylenol Extra Strength, microwave heating

Itching

Benadryl tablets or cream

Yeast infection

3 to 7 day antifungal—Monistat,® Femstat®

Hemorrhoids

Preparation H® (with cortisone), AnuSol,® Tucks® pads

Cold sore

Abreva®

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