Is it Safe To Take Mucinex While Pregnant?
For pregnant women, the topic of medication often raises many questions as many medications are not safe to take while pregnant. Additionally, it is best to avoid all medications during the first trimester of pregnancy.
However, if your symptoms are severe, and with due advice from your doctor or care provider, there are some medications that are considered relatively safe for use while pregnant. Even then, you should only use them when necessary and in short durations. Always practice caution when taking any medication especially while pregnant.
What is Mucinex (Guaifenesin)?
Mucinex is an over-the-counter medication that helps to relieve chest and nasal congestion and works as a cough suppressant. Most people take this drug when they are suffering from colds, allergies or common irritations that occur on a yearly basis.
Micinex actually works by thinning the mucus in air passages that cause that horrible "blocked up" feeling when you are feeling unwell. Other similar medications which are approved for use in pregnancy include Sudafed®, Tylenol Sinus®, and Robitussin®.
Is It Safe To Take Mucinex During Pregnancy?
You should NOT take Mucinex during the first trimester of pregnancy (up until 12 weeks) due to potential risks to the growing fetus. However, after that it is perfectly safe to take the anti-congestion medication for any ailments that you might have.
Having said that, you should definitely consult your doctor or midwife beforehand just in case you have any underlying medical conditions that might cause any side effects to you or baby.
On the other hand, while it is considered safe to use Mucinex or Mucinex D in pregnancy, you should NOT use Mucinex DM until after 16 weeks (or 4 months) of pregnancy.
FDA Pregnancy Category for Mucinex
Although Mucinex is thought to be safe during pregnancy, the risk of complications cannot be ruled out in the pregnancy FDA category. Mucinex has been assigned to pregnancy category C. by the FDA
A study conducted on animals showed that ingredients from the drug can cross the placenta and have an adverse effect on baby. There is no confirmed proof that this is true but do keep this in mind when making the decision to take Mucinex during pregnancy. It is only recommended for use during pregnancy when the benefit outweighs the risk.
The FDA has labeled Mucinex to be a Category C drug. #KnowYourPregnancyDrugs
For more information about FDA category, watch this short video…
Recommended Dosage of Mucinex During Pregnancy
You should be careful of how much of the medication that you take when pregnant, consult with a doctor to see if they recommend less than what the usual dosage amount is. The average adult would take 200-400mg of Mucinex every 4 hours or as needed.
Risks of Taking Mucinex While Pregnant
Taking Mucinex in the first trimester
Although doctors recommend that Mucinex (otherwise known as Guaifenesin) should not take in the first trimester, a recent study showed that there are no major drawbacks to doing so. 197 women took the drug during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and 14 of these had babies were born with congenital malformations. This statistic is no different to what would usually be expected anyway
Risk of neural tube defects
There have been certain studies that have been conducted which show that there is a possible increased risk of your baby having neural tube defects (NTD) or inguinal hernias if you take Mucinex regularly throughout the duration of your pregnancy.
Risk of other birth defects
There was another study that was done with pregnant mothers that showed some interesting results. During this experiment, 141 women took oral Mucinex during the first trimester and 349 took it later in their pregnancies. There were nine birth defects reported in those who took it during the first trimester including heart problems but not as many with those who took the medication later in pregnancy.
Taking Mucinex While Breastfeeding
Currently there is no definitive evidence whether Mucinex can harm baby during breastfeeding although it's thought that taking it in small dosages should be fine.
If the infant is over 2 months, it's almost 100% certain that it is safe but again this is up to you to make the judgment as a mother.
Experts have, however, recommended avoiding Guaifenesin products that contain high alcohol content, for example certain cough syrups, while breastfeeding.
Before Taking Mucinex
There are certain things that you should be aware of before taking Mucinex while pregnant, including the following:
- You should not take this medicine if you are allergic to any of the ingredients found in Guaifenesin.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant while taking this medication and they will be best able to advise you depending on your personal situation.
- If you suffer any side effects (which are detailed further below) when taking this drug then stop taking the medication.
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How Should I Take A Mucinex (Guaifenesin)?
You should be careful when taking Mucinex while pregnant. Only take the dosage as recommended by the doctor. Do not use a smaller or definitely not a larger dosage than what you have been told to.
You should also ask a doctor if you plan on giving this to a child and never give it to them, if they are below 4 years old. Take the medication with water and also with food if you find it nauseating to take on its own.
Make sure that you store the drug at room temperature and keep away from moisture, direct sunlight and overwhelming heat. You should NOT chew or break open the medication, simply swallow whole with a glass of water. This is to prevent the medicine from entering you body too much in a short period of time.
If you are taking the liquid form of Guaifenesin, make sure to measure it out properly using a dosage spoon or measuring cup - your pharmacist should be able to provide you with this if you do not have one.
Guaifenesin Side Effects
Like mentioned previously, there can be side effects when taking Mucinex in general and these include the following:
- Dizziness and headaches
- A rash
- Vomiting, tummy ache or nausea
If you suffer from any of these to the extreme you should seek medical attention and at the very least, cease taking the drug.
Other Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy
While it’s safe to take Sudafed while pregnant, the table below also contained other drugs that are deem to be safe for pregnancy. However, each pregnancy is different and sometime these drugs can have adverse effect to your pregnancy if taken without first consult with a doctor.
Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy*
Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton, Efidac, Teldrin)
Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin, Loradamed, Tavist ND Allergy)
Cold and Flu
Halls*, Robitussin, Romilar, Trind-DM, Vicks Cough Syrup
Saline nasal drops or spray
Actifed, Dristan, Neosynephrine*, Sudafed
Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Tylenol Cold
Warm salt/water gargle
*Do not take "SA" (sustained action) forms or "Multi-Symptom" forms of these drugs.
Milk of Magnesia
For 24 hours, only after 12 weeks of pregnancy:
First Aid Ointment
J & J
Nausea and Vomiting
Emetrol (if not diabetic)
Vitamin B6 (100 mg tablet)
Caladryl lotion or cream
Hydrocortisone cream or ointment
Oatmeal bath (Aveeno)
Monistat or Terazol
Do not insert applicator too far
*Please Note: While all pregnancy is different, hence, no drug can be considered 100% safe to use during pregnancy. Best to always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicines. Source: WebMD.com
Here is a helpful video on over-the-counter medications during pregnancy…
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