Cough Drops While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

As you go through your pregnancy, you are going to discover that all sorts of changes are taking place. After all, you are growing a human inside of you. One of the symptoms of pregnancy that many women experience is a throat that always seems to be sore.

A sore throat can be caused by temperature changes outdoors, the temperature changes of your own body, acid reflux, heartburn, pregnancy allergies, or the fact that you just do not feel good and there is not much that you can take to get some relief. No matter what the cause of a sore throat may be, taking a cough drop just might help ease the pain.

When you ask your doctor about taking something to ease your sore throat pain, you may be in for a surprise as there are many things that you have to avoid while you are pregnant. Unfortunately, being pregnant means that there is little relief available for a lot of the symptoms that you may experience.

What about a Simple Cough Drop?

When you are pregnant, you will find that what you can and cannot take depends on many different things. While a cough drop seems to be quite harmless, it is still recommended to check with your doctor before you take any medication. However, when it comes to cough drops, the following information should be very helpful.

How Cough Drops Work

A cough drop is a small sweet that is designed to be taken by mouth. These drops dissolve slowly and help to soothe throats that are sore due to the flu or a common cold. The drops are medicated and will help relieve coughs. The medication that is present in the cough drop help to lubricate and soothe the throat tissues that have become irritated.

Cough drops are a simple medication that most people find provide relief from symptoms caused by the common cold or allergies. However, as a pregnant woman, there is more to it than simply getting some relief as you have your baby's safety to keep in mind.

What You Need to Know About Buying Cough Drops when Pregnant

When purchasing cough drops while you are pregnant, it is important to know what they contain. A cough drop may contain any of these ingredients:

  • Eucalyptus oil: an extract that comes from the eucalyptus plant
  • Benzocaine: topical anesthetic often found in over the counter medications such as those for mouth ulcers
  • Zinc gluconate glycine
  • Dextromethorphan: potent cough reliever
  • Pectin
  • Spearmint
  • Menthol
  • Honey
  • Peppermint oil
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Horehound
  • elder
  • Linden flowers
  • Lemon balm
  • Hyssop
  • mallow

Cough drops can be purchased in non-mentholated and mentholated versions. A mentholated cough drop will numb the throat and help ease the pain. These drops will often have a cough suppressant as well as an oral anesthetic.

Non-mentholated cough drops will coat the throat using a soothing substance such as honey, mint, or lemon. Non-mentholated cough drops will not numb the throat or suppress coughs. 

What Ingredients are Safe for Pregnant Women?

Cough drops that contain guaifenesin, which is an expectorant, or dextromethorphan are considered to be safe for pregnant women to take. There have not been any studies conducted about the safety of using menthol while pregnant.

For this reason, the risks of menthol cough drops for pregnant women is not known. If choosing to use a cough drop, it is typically recommended to avoid the ones containing menthol because of the unknown effects it may have. 

Possible Dangers of Menthol Cough Drops

There are no known reports of negative effects of menthol on a pregnancy. However, in order to be safe, it is a good idea to discuss using menthol cough drops with your doctor.

If you are not sure about the effects of the combination of herbs on your baby, make sure that you discuss the ingredients with your doctor before you take the cough drops. Even if the cough drops have been labeled as all natural. 

There are some herbs, corn syrup, and other sugars that are found in cough drops that your doctor may not want you to have while you are pregnant. The main reason for this is if you are a high-risk pregnancy or if you are at risk for gestational diabetes as these herbs and sugars could be counterproductive.

Cough Drop Alternatives

If you have read the list above and are not sure about taking the chemicals that are found in many types of cough drops, there are other solutions for relieving your sore throat during pregnancy that you may want to try such as:

  • Mix 1 tsp of honey and ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper in 2 cups of boiling water. When cooled, drink the mixture
  • Suck on a clove of garlic: sucking on garlic once a week can ease sore throat pain
  • Use a humidifier
  • Gargle with salt water
  • Drink Teas: chamomile tea with honey, ginger tea made with fresh ginger root, or honey lemon tea
  • Preggie Pop Drops 

Listen to Your Body

When it comes to using cough drops, it is thought that most of the over the counter natural cough drops without menthol is rather safe for you to use while you are pregnant.

However, there are some ingredients found in these cough drops, there are some that may not be the best to use for you and your baby. If you have questions about the ingredients, chances are it is best to avoid the product. 

One of the most important things to remember when you are pregnant is to listen to your body. If you are truly struggling with a sore throat and none of the remedies above are working for you, it is important to discuss your issues with your doctor. Never be afraid to ask your doctor about any questions or concerns that you may have.

References:

https://www.womenscare.com/obstetrics/safe-medicines/
http://www.preferredwomenshealth.net/Portals/2584/web-content/files/Meds_in_Pregnancy.pdf
https://www.webmd.com/women/pregnancy-medicine

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