A cough suppressant is the medication used to reduce or suppress cough. Pregnancy is the period when it may not be safe to use all types of cough suppressants. So, read this article and find out the cough medications that women can take during pregnancy.
Cough suppressants are the medications that suppress the urge to cough. Another type of cough medicine is expectorant. The basic difference between an expectorant and a cough suppressant is that the expectorant thins the mucus and promotes its expulsion, while a cough suppressant reduces or suppresses the urge to cough.
Expectorants are usually used for wet or productive cough, while cough suppressants are employed for the treatment of hacking or dry cough. You can find a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications for cough, but not all of them are safe to be used during pregnancy.
Cough Medication and Pregnancy
It is usually advised to minimize the use of drugs during pregnancy, as some medications can have an adverse effect on the developing embryo. The most common and the popular cough suppressants are those that contain dextromethorphan. Dextromethorphan is basically a narcotic, but it is not addictive. It can be found in many over-the-counter cough medications.
Dextromethorphan is considered safe to be used during pregnancy. However, one animal study has found dextromethorphan to cause birth defects in chick embryos. But this study is not considered very reliable, and hence dextromethorphan is usually considered safe for pregnant women. But pregnancy is the period where one needs to maintain a lot of precautions, and so, pregnant women should use the drugs that contain dextromethorphan only after consulting their physicians.
Apart from dextromethorphan, some physicians can recommend Sudafed for treating cough during pregnancy. The active ingredients of this cough medication are, pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, which are decongestants. These two ingredients can affect the supply of blood to the placenta, if used frequently. Generally, pregnant women are advised to avoid these two decongestants, or the medications that contain them for the first 13 weeks of pregnancy to avoid any possible risk to the developing fetus. The risk of birth defects associated with the use of pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine during pregnancy is quite low, but it could be higher for women who smoke.
Natural Remedies for Cough
For mild cough, it is always better to use the natural cough suppressants. But again, not all natural remedies are safe to be used continuously for a long time, especially during pregnancy. Honey is a natural remedy for cough that can be used by pregnant women. You can add honey to a glass of warm water, and drink it to get relief from the cough.
A glass of orange juice mixed with honey is another home remedy that can help relieve cough. Lemon juice mixed with honey can also help you get rid of cough. Just squeeze half a lemon to a glass of lukewarm water. Then add one or two teaspoon honey to it and drink the mixture. This will surely help you get relief from the dry, hacking cough. Apart from these, you can also inhale steam, gargle with saline water, or drink herbal tea and hot soup.
To ensure the safety of the fetus or the unborn child, pregnant women should use medications only under the supervision of their physicians. Cough medications contain several ingredients, and so, it is better to confirm that each of these ingredient is safe, by consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women can also talk to their physicians regarding the use of sucking lozenges that contain natural ingredients like honey and glycerol, for treating mild to moderate cough.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.