What You Can Take When Pregnant With a Cough/Cold

Wow. My last post “How Does One Take It Easy” was written the day before we left for Miami. It feels laughable because clearly I did not take it easy and actually got worse and am now, almost 2 full weeks after getting a cold starting to feel better…

I didn’t want to do an entire post on being pregnant and sick but the internet is full of conflicting advice.

First, reach out to your OBGYN for what medications you can take if you are struggling like I was. The nurses at my hospital even had different opinions on what I could and shouldn’t take.

I had the worst cough and the first nurse didn’t suggest Robitussin which you can take pregnant (I took Robitussin DM – which my doctor said was fine). I was miserable. I couldn’t breathe through my nose and I couldn’t stop coughing. I had a relentless headache that grew worse when I coughed. One morning, each cough felt like I was being hit in the head with a sledgehammer. The Pharmacist said I could take Sudafed PE. The nurse told me to stop. The nurse said I could take Tylenol but didn’t specify dosage.

My primary care said no more than 1000 a day which at that point I had been taking 1000 every 6 hours for 6 days. The nose sprays I could take didn’t work. The neti-pot didn’t work and I think led to my ear filling with fluid. I now can barely hear out of my left ear and have incessant ringing still. I was waking up with coughing fits 4-5x a night.


I was pretty uncomfortable for at least 10 days. Four of those were spent traveling to Miami with a toddler and relaxing by a pool all day which was probably best case scenario because I had Nick around to help with Tommy, I didn’t have to leave the house and the humidity was probably a good thing!

I debated cancelling our trip to Miami. I felt awful that I had to fly with a cold and risk other people getting sick but I chose to move forward with the trip as I thought I was on the mend on Friday. I didn’t realize I was getting worse until we landed.

Safe to Take While Pregnant

Tylenol is fine. My primary care said no more than 1000 a day which is only 2 extra strength pills total…

Saline nose spray is fine. You all suggested nasal rinses, the neti pot or the version that is more like a bottle which was recommended to me since I can’t get the pot to do anything. My nose is just too stuffed up to get the water to flow from one nostril to the other. The saline spray did NOTHING for me.

Robitussin is fine. My OBGYN and nurses said the DM version was fine. My PCP was not as on board for some reason. I took the DM.

*Sudafed is probably fine. I had many friends tell me their doctors told them this was fine to take. My OBGYN and PCP said this was fine to take. The Pharmacist said this was good to take. One nurse told me not to take it and the internet is a scary place. Nick bought me the Sudafed PE because the Pharmacist recommended it over the regular Sudafed.

*Mucinex is probably fine. I did not take this but many of my web friends said this was fine to take per their doctor and the web resources. I did not take this as I think it’s similar to Robitussin, but I could be wrong.

*Most cough drops are also fine but I never used them because I didn’t think I could. I bought some at Whole Foods once I got home from Miami that work OK but at that point I was feeling better. Some people suggest avoiding menthol which is in most to suppress your cough so I looked for honey as the main ingredient to help.

I was also given an inhaler by the doctor. It was $65 at my pharmacy with insurance and I’ve only used it a handful of times. It was to help me breathe with my cough but I’m not sure it did anything.

I also had a prescription of amoxicillin because I thought I had an ear infection but it was just the water blocking my ear which I think is from congestion and possibly the neti pot that didn’t work. I stopped taking it after 4 days because I don’t think I had a bacterial infection.


Other remedies not from the pharmacy…

I did not workout for a full week but started to ease back into things after 7 days and honestly, I think it helped me feel better. I started with 20 minutes on the Peloton bike, then 30 and then 35.

I also tried peppermint essential oil for opening my nasal passages that didn’t really work.

I did apple cider vinegar shots with honey that helped me feel better by day 10… Does that count as working?

I was taking a probiotic and my prenatal vitamins daily.

I was drinking tons and tons of water. I added lemon juice to some.

I was drinking juice, smoothies and kombucha, anything with ginger really!


I was eating soup for lunch and would have for dinner if given the option.


I’ve always been hesitant to take medication for coughs and colds because they don’t do much. Basically the only thing that helped was time and the Tylenol for my headaches. That’s it. I wish I had a better solution but if you are pregnant and sick, hopefully you find solace in one of these remedies and your 2 nurse phone calls, 1 PCP visit and OBGYN visit aren’t as conflicting as mine.


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