Can You Have Cough Drops When Pregnant? What You Should Know

(Last Updated On: June 28, 2019)

There’s something about pregnancy that makes your throat sore practically all the time. And these sore throat episodes can be caused by a variety of things: temperature changes, heartburn and acid reflux, pregnancy allergies (yes, they are quite existent), a regular cold, or really just a general feeling of being under the weather.

Normally, you’d reach for a menthol cough drop the minute you feel that irritating itch in your throat, but this time you’re not so sure because of your pregnancy. Can you have cough drops when pregnant?


throat sore lozenges pregnant

To Take Or Not To Take?

Cough drops can be bought over the counter without any prescription from your doctor, and it’s a practical solution to sore throat due to the relief that it brings, no matter how short term. While cough drops do not have any notable effects on pregnancy, it’s still best to consult your doctor before buying them while you’re pregnant.

LiveStrong talks about a study that was published in January 1998. In that study, they found that “dextromethorphan was associated with birth defects in chick embryos. However, some researchers question the applicability of these findings to humans. ”

What’s In A Cough Drop?

There are two types of ingredients in cough drops, active and inactive ones. There are also certain medications in cough drops to soothe and lubricate your throat when it’s irritated. Cough drops that have dextromethorphan and guaifenesin in their ingredients are generally safe for pregnant women.

Dextromethorphan has been observed to result in birth defects in chick embryos, but there’s no definitive study to say the same for human babies.

The most common active ingredient in cough drops is menthol, and there’s not really any study relating menthol to effects in pregnancy. Once again, just to be on the safe side, you should check with your doctor first.

The inactive ingredients are natural herbs like peppermint, sage, thyme, lemon balm, mallow, and more. These herbs are also pretty safe to ingest while pregnant, and have no warnings associated with pregnancy. If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, these herbs can pose a problem. Remember to talk with your doctor, and if I have been repeating this phrase over and over, it’s because it’s important if you want to have a safe pregnancy.

A lot of cough drops on the market also have sweeteners in them, and this you should watch out for if you have or have a potential for diabetes. These sweeteners can cause a rise in your diabetes and make it harder to manage, which can lead to complications in your pregnancy.

All-Natural Alternatives

If you’d rather not risk it with cough drops or it poses problems for your pregnancy, you can still relieve your sore throat with natural alternatives. Not only are these much safer, a lot of these are achievable from the comforts of your own home.

  • Gargle with salt and warm water (keep hydrated and prevent dehydration!)
  • Alternatively, you can add vinegar or apple cider to the salt and water that you’re going to gargle with
  • Add honey, ginger, or lemon with your tea
  • Get enough sleep and rest
  • Drink a lot of fluids
  • Eat healthy
  • Suck on garlic cloves the same way you would a cough drop, one in each cheek
  • In boiling water, add 1 tsp honey and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Drink after cooling
  • Drink chamomile tea with some honey
  • Try using humidifiers
  • Eat some homemade chicken noodle soup

Remember that keeping yourself healthy is a great way to avoid getting sick in the first place. As you’re going to be much more susceptible while you’re pregnant, it’s best to bring your immunity up so that you won’t have to deal with a nasty sore throat.

When You Need Medical Attention

After you’ve tried all the means to relieve your sore throat and it still persists, then it’s probably time to call your doctor. Especially if you have other symptoms apart from a sore throat, such as fever, headache, rashes, swelling, body aches, shortness of breath or wheezing, chest pain, or nausea and vomiting.

If your sore throat feels very painful and/or lasts longer than a few days, call your doctor as it can be a symptom that you’re dealing with something much more serious than just a simple cold or sore throat.

Last Reminders

Again, it’s important to consult your doctor before deciding to self-medicate while you’re pregnant. Even if cough drops tend to have no serious associated pregnancy risks, it would still be best to consult your doctor before popping one when your throat is feeling irritated.

The same goes for any of the other home remedies.

Even more so if your pregnancy is high risk as sometimes even the most helpful herbs can cause some complications with your pregnancy. You might even be worried about pregnancy ailments like bronchitis.

Ask your doctor how long you can take throat lozenges during pregnancy, the safe amount of dosage. Whether or not your condition is improving with the cough drops, and so on. If you can bear it, you can just let your cough take its course without further medicating.

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