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Pregnancy diet and medications

"What medication is safe to take?" "Can I eat that?" "Is that bad for my baby?"

When you are pregnant, it is important to remember that what you eat and drink, and what medications you take can affect the development of your unborn baby. While a little common sense goes a long way, the guidelines on this page can also be useful in determining what might be a safer choice.

In general:

  • No amount of alcohol has been proven safe. Drinking alcohol while pregnant, even during very early or very late pregnancy, can cause fetal alcohol disorder and related development issues. 
  • Do not smoke while you are pregnant. Also, do not spend time around people who are smoking as secondhand smoke also reaches your baby.
  • Take prenatal vitamins with folic acid. These nutrients are important for your baby's development.
  • Eat as healthy as possible. While nausea or indigestion can make eating unpleasant or difficult, getting appropriate nutrients to your baby is important. See below for a list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.

Safe medications during pregnancy

Please refer to this list, organized by ailment, to see if a medicine is safe to take during pregnancy. If you have a question or need help with an ailment you do not see listed, please call our office.

  • Allergies, hayfever, runny nose: Benadryl, Actifed, Tylenol Allergy/Sinus.
  • Backache: Tylenol Extra Strength. Apply local heat. Avoid long periods of standing. Wear low-heeled shoes. Stoop to pick up objects.
  • Breast tenderness: Wear a supportive bra. Decrease the amount of caffeine and amount of carbonated beverages ingested.
  • Cold, flu: Tylenol Cold, Theraflu, Actifed, Benadryl.
  • Cough: Robitussin DM, Halls, Vicks, Cough Syrup.
  • Congestion: Robitussin CF, Mucinex.
  • Constipation: Metamucil, Docusate, Colace, Dulcolax. If you go more than three days without a bowel movement, try a laxative like Miralax or Milk of Magnesia. Increase fiber in diet by eating whole grain bread, bran cereal, fresh fruit and vegetables. Drink plenty of water.
  • Diarrhea: Immodium AD, Kaopectate.
  • Gas: Gas X, Bean-O, Simethicone. You may take one to two hours before every meal to prevent gas.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Zantac (ranitidine), Tagamet (cimetidine).
  • Headache: Extra Strength Tylenol (acetaminophen). Avoid eye strain. Visit your eye doctor. Rest with a cool cloth on your forehead.
  • Heartburn: Tums, Maalox, Mylanta, Riopan. Avoid overeating as well as greasy, spicy and fatty foods.
  • Hemorrhoids: Preparation H, Tucks Pads, Witch Hazel Compresses, Anusol or Wyanoids Cream or Suppositories.
  • Insomnia: Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Unisom Sleep Tablets. Try changing position. Try putting a pillow between your legs and sleeping on your side. Try drinking warm milk, reading a book, taking a short walk or taking a warm bath.
  • Leg cramps: Avoid pointing your toes. Straighten your leg and flex your ankle. Drink milk. If unable to tolerate dairy products, you may need calcium with a Vitamin D supplement such as Oscal.
  • Motion sickness: Dramamine (dymenhydrinate).
  • Nausea: Emetrex, Vitamin B6 100mg Tablet, Sea Bands, Dramamine 25mg every eight hours, Ginger root 250mg capsules four times a day. Acupuncture and accupressure might also help. Eat frequent small meals. Eat crackers or a dry piece of toast before getting out of bed.
  • Round ligament pain: Avoid twisting motions. Bend forward to relieve discomfort. Rise to a standing position slowly and use your hands to support your abdomen. Wear a prenatal cradle.
  • Vaginal discharge: Wear cotton underwear. Bathe daily. Avoid tight clothing.
  • Varicose veins: Walk regularly. Rest with feet regularly. Avoid long periods of standing. Do not cross legs when sitting. Avoid knee-high stockings. Wear support hosiery.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

You should avoid certain foods that could contain bacteria or other other substances that might harm your baby. Avoid:

  • Fish with high levels of mercury. Be cautious about locally caught fish.
  • Raw or undercooked meat, especially lamb and pork.
  • Deer meat.
  • Cold cuts that have been left unrefrigerated.
  • Foods made with raw eggs.
  • Unpasteurized cheeses or milks.




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