Pregnancy do’s and don’ts
Many pregnant women have question about foods to avoid during pregnancy and medications safe to take during pregnancy. One important thing to remember is a little common sense goes a long way! If there is something that you are questioning, do not eat it or take it until you can ask your provider about its safety. The most important things to avoid while pregnant are alcohol (in any amount), and any illegal drugs or controlled substances for which you do not have a prescription. If you are currently taking a prescription medication prescribed by another provider, let your provider in our office know about that medication as soon as possible so they can determine its ongoing safety during your pregnancy.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
The following foods could contain bacteria or other things harmful to your baby. If you unknowingly eat a small quantity of any of these things, do not panic. Just don't eat any more of it and watch out for similar dangers in the future:
- Raw or undercooked eggs (homemade Caesar dressing, soft-boiled eggs, meringue pies, hollandaise sauces)
- Raw dairy products (unpasteurized milk or cheeses; soft cheeses including brie, camembert, feta, blue, queso fresco blanco and gorgonzola)
- Refrigerated or deli patés, meat spreads, smoked seafood (lox, salmon or trout; often labeled nova style, kippered or jerky)
- Raw or rare meat
- Raw or undercooked shellfish
- Raw fish (sushi)
- Deli meats, lunch meats, hot dogs (UNLESS they are heated until they are steaming)
- Raw sprouts (alfalfa)
- Fish with high levels or mercury including shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel
Nutrasweet and caffeine are acceptable when used in moderation (i.e. no more than two to three drinks per day). Avoid saccharin (Sweet n' Low).
Medications safe to take during pregnancy
If you have a minor ailment during pregnancy, you need to know what medications to avoid and what medications are safe to take while you are pregnant. Some medications you take can cross the placenta and make their way to your baby. Since many details about how medications can affect babies are unknown, it is recommended you only take medications when absolutely necessary, and always consult your provider or pharmacist if you have questions about the safety of a medication.
Here are some medications believed to be safe to take during pregnancy, listed by ailment:
- Motion Sickness - Dramamine
- Seasonal Allergies - Claritin or Zyrtec (not Zyrtec D)
- Cold - Tylenol Sinus - Take no more than 2-3 times a day Chlortrimenton, Dimetapp Sudafed, Mucinex
- Sore Throat - Halls, Cepacol Lozenges Chloraseptic Spray
- Stuffy Nose - Afrin Nasal Spray, Ocean Spray Nasal Spray, Sudafed, Humidifier, Vaporizer
- Cough - Robitussin Plain or DM, Delsym
- Sinus Problems - Tylenol Sinus - Take no more then 2-3 times a day Chlortrimenton, Dimetapp, Sudafed
- Cold Sores - Abreva
- Diarrhea - Immodium
- Swelling - Elevate feet above level of heart. Call office if excessive or changes abruptly.
- Urinary Frequency - Drink plenty of fluids such as water or juice, avoid coffee, tea or soda. Call if burning present with urination.
- Headaches or Fever - Tylenol or acetaminophen
- General Malaise / Feeling Bad - Tylenol or acetaminophen
- Hemorrhoids - Anusol, Tucks, Preparation H, sitting in warm water
- Indigestion or Heartburn - Maalox, Mylanta Tums, Rolaids, Prevacid Zantac 150 mg, Pepcid OTC Prilosec. Avoid Maalox Total Relief; other version of Maalox are safe in pregnancy.
- Constipation - Milk of Magnesia, Miralax, Metamucil, Citrucel, Fibercon, Fibersure, Colace. Increase fluids and fiber.
- Nausea / Vomiting - Emetrol. Avoid an empty stomach. Drink fluids in place of solid foods. Vitamin B-6 50-150 mg daily may help.
- Varicose Veins - Elevate legs. Wear well fitting maternity support hose.
- Poison Ivy - Hydrocortisone Lotion, Caladryl Lotion, Benadryl 50 mg every 6 hours as needed
- Insomnia - Tylenol PM, Benadryl. Avoid Maalox Total Relief; other version of Maalox are safe in pregnancy. Avoid Aspirin and Ibuprofen in the 1st and 3rd trimesters.
While the medications on this list may be taken in pregnancy, their use should be kept to a minimum. We are not able to give a 100% guarantee that your baby will be free of birth defects. There is a baseline risk of 3% of having a baby with a birth defect. These medications have not been shown to significantly increase that risk.