Cough Drops While Pregnant

Cough drops provide instant relief from the regular bouts of cough and cold experienced during pregnancy. As there are restrictions on taking OTCs when pregnant, more specifically in the third trimester, these lozenges would soothe your symptoms, if not cure them.

Cough Drops While Pregnant

Are cough drops safe for pregnancy

Most ingredients present in cough drops are considered to be safe during pregnancy, with no known adverse effects [1].

Can you use cough drops while pregnant

You can take cough drops while pregnant in measured amounts if your healthcare provider approves of it [4].

Menthol cough drops while pregnant

There are insufficient studies to assess the safety of menthol which is an active ingredient in most cough drops, during pregnancy. Belonging to the group of OTCs, the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has not provided it with any pregnancy category rating. However, no adverse effects of menthol usage during pregnancy have been reported [1, 3], so having a few is believed to be harmless.

Cough drops with other ingredients

Besides menthol, cough drops also contain other ingredients like vitamin C (immune-boosting and antioxidant properties) [2, 11], eucalyptus oil [7], pectin (cholesterol-lowering properties [6],  zinc (helps in the fetus’ cell growth) [12], dextromethorphan (cough-suppressant properties) [13] and echinacea (immunity booster) [14]. Their usage during pregnancy is likely to be safe when taken in measured amounts [2, 6, 20].

Some also contain inactive ingredients including herbs like thyme, sage, peppermint, wild thyme, lemon balm,  and mallow. These are best avoided as the safety of the herbs during pregnancy remains unknown [1]. Cough drops like Ricola have elderflower, horehound, and hyssop, herbs that are said to cause uterine contractions [4, 5].

Pregnancy-safe cough drops: Which ones to take

Though it is difficult to name the best cough drops for pregnancy, the ones in the list below are considered safe:

Brand Name What does it contain
Halls [8,17] Menthol, Vitamin C [19, 20]
CVS (Cherry/Honey Lemon)  Menthol, dextromethorphan [15]
Cepacol [8,9] Menthol, benzocaine [9, 21]
Chloraseptic Menthol, benzocaine, dextromethorphan [22]
Sucrets [17] Menthol, dyclonine [23]
Cold-Eeze [18] Zinc [24]
Vicks [8,10] Menthol, eucalyptus oil, ascorbic acid, corn syrup, citric acid [25]
Walgreens Menthol, eucalyptus oil, sucrose, soyabean oil, cornstarch [27]
Luden’s [16]  Vitamin C, pectin, malic acid,  citric acid, corn syrup [26]
doTERRA On Guard Eucalpytus, wild orange, cinnamon, rosemary, myrrh, clove

Eating cough drops while pregnant: Dos and Dont’s

  • Always read the composition before eating it to ensure you are not allergic to any of its components.
  • Avoid expired ones as they might not taste as good or work as well.
  • Opt for sugar-free cough drops, especially if you are at a risk of gestational diabetes [1].
  • If there is a lot of mucus coming up along with your cough, have a word with your doctor first before taking cough drops. In such cases, it might be better to allow your body to clear up any germs from your body through the mucus rather than suppressing the cough with lozenges [1].

Relive the cough using other measures

If you are hesitant about using cough drops, then you can try certain alternative measures at home.

  • Gargle with salt water.
  • Drink tea prepared with ginger, honey or lemon.
  • Increase your fluid intake.
  • Sleep well.

When to call a doctor

Stop using cough drops and skip the home remedies right away if: [1]

  • Your sore throat prolongs for more than two days.
  • Your cough does not get better after a week.
  • You have a severe cough right from the beginning that is coming in the way of your breathing.
  • You have other symptoms like nausea, headache, swelling, vomiting, fever, and rash.



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