Medication during pregnancy

During your pregnancy, you should be very careful about the medicines you take. Even medications that seem harmless at first glance could affect your baby. Therefore, if in doubt, you should also coordinate over-the-counter remedies from the pharmacy with your doctor. Fortunately, however, there are alternative preparations available for almost all diseases that can be taken safely. Here you can find out which active ingredients you can easily take for common diseases and complaints.

How do medications affect your baby?

Did you take medication in the first weeks of pregnancy when you didn’t know how lucky you were? Don’t worry too much. Your baby has its own effective protective mechanisms and can regenerate itself in the event of minor damage. Whether and how severely medication affects your baby depends on various factors:

  • Every child reacts differently to negative influences. If you pay attention to a healthy and balanced lifestyle, you will also support your child’s immune system.
  • Whether medication has a negative effect also depends on the respective development phase of the baby. In the last trimester, many medications are less dangerous than at the beginning or in the middle of pregnancy.
  • The amount of medication affects whether and how much damage may occur. Therefore, long-term use, without medical advice, should be taboo. However, a single application is unlikely to cause problems.

Drug categories G1 to G10 provide orientation

Categories were developed in Germany for the first classification of the harmlessness of a drug. For this purpose, all medicinal products are classified from G1 to G10. G1 means no risk at all. From category G7, a drug can pose a risk to the pregnancy and the child. You should never take these supplements.

For colds

Simple colds, which are accompanied by a cough, runny nose and sometimes fever, are not critical for your child. However, do not use combination preparations from the pharmacy during your pregnancy, as they usually contain alcohol, painkillers or other substances that could be harmful to the baby. If you still want to take a preparation, it is best to talk to your gynecologist beforehand. He is now the best contact person, even for questions that you would otherwise have asked the general practitioner.

  • It is best to drink a lot and use essential oils to inhale in hot steam to counteract an unpleasant dry cough. If that doesn’t help, you can temporarily take cough drops containing codeine or expectorant medication.
  • Even a cold is usually not a problem during pregnancy, as long as you are still getting enough oxygen. Essential oils or saline solution in the form of a facial steam bath help against a stuffy nose. You can also use sea salt sprays and nasal drops for newborns.

Drugs that you can take for a dry cough: dextromethorphan, ambroxol (expectant)

For a headache

Headaches are a common complaint during pregnancy. Unfortunately, you have to be very careful when choosing the preparations, because there are few active ingredients that you can safely take during pregnancy. You should even avoid acetylsalicylic acid, which is contained in classic headache tablets, or paracetamol for simple headaches. They increase the risk of asthma and, in the worst case, can lead to deformities in your child. In the last trimester of pregnancy, they also have an anti-pain effect and delay the birth process. A short walk in the fresh air or relaxation techniques such as yoga, which you can easily learn in a course or with our yoga program , usually help against headaches. Also oneMassage or a small wellness program can often work wonders.

But be careful: Headaches in combination with blurred vision, vomiting and nausea in the last trimester of pregnancy could indicate preeclampsia and must be examined medically.

Further information

Find out more about health during pregnancy in the GU book “The Big Book on Pregnancy” by the book authors Annette Nolden and Prof. Dr. medical Franz Kainer. Many thanks to GRÄFE UND UNZER Verlag for their support.

With fever

Many pregnant women suffer from a cold accompanied by a fever at least once during their pregnancy. This is not a problem for your child, you can rest easy. However, if the fever rises above 38.5 degrees or lasts longer, a doctor must be consulted. In any case, make up for the loss of fluids by drinking a lot. As already mentioned on the subject of colds, no combination preparations should be taken, as they can contain harmful ingredients.

Medicines that you can take for fever and headaches: 500 mg paracetamol, but only after consulting a doctor. Always go into treatment and pay close attention to the dosage.

For urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are relatively common during pregnancy. You can prevent it by staying warm and drinking enough fluids. Instead of coffee or fruit juices, which also irritate the bladder, drink lots of water and mild herbal teas. If you have nevertheless caught a bladder infection, you must definitely have it treated with antibiotics, since the bacterial infection can also harm your child (e.g. due to a premature birth). Antibiotics are not just antibiotics and your doctor will choose an active ingredient that is tailored to the phase of your pregnancy, i.e. it poses the lowest possible risks.

Drugs that you can take after consultation with the doctor for urinary tract infections: penicillins, cephalosporins, erythromycin, in the 2nd trimester also cotrimoxazole.

In case of diarrhea

Diarrhea is rare during pregnancy. But if you do, you absolutely have to drink enough to compensate for the lack of fluids. Rusks and pretzel sticks put your electrolyte balance back in the right balance. Avoid difficult to digest and fatty foods. After consultation with your doctor, charcoal tablets or tablets with the active ingredient loperamide can also be taken in the event of severe diarrhea.

For gastrointestinal infections

Gastrointestinal infections usually go away on their own within a short time. An electrolyte solution from the pharmacy will help you to cure the disease. If the infection lasts longer than two days and is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, vomiting, headache and body aches or chills, you should consult a doctor. There could be food poisoning or a serious infection. But with the appropriate medical treatment, you quickly cured it.

Drugs that you can take after consultation with your doctor for gastrointestinal infections: penicillins, cephalosporins, erythromycin, in the 2nd trimester also cotrimoxazole, dimenhydrinate, meclozine, metoclopramide

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