Is Cough Syrup Safe during Pregnancy?

Medications during pregnancy may harm the baby. Find out if cough syrup is safe.

Himanshu Sharma
Written by: Himanshu SharmaUpdated at: Nov 18, 2013 12:10 IST
Is Cough Syrup Safe during Pregnancy?

Pouring cough syrup in a spoonIt is quite important to pay special attention to medications when you are expecting. There have been several studies in the past on medication use during pregnancy, as it has a certain impact on the foetal development.


[Read: Pills to Avoid during Pregnancy]


As far a cough syrup intake during pregnancy is concerned, there has been no substantial scientific evidence that it would cause harm to the baby. According to, an expectant mother must consider the potential risk of taking certain drugs such as maximum strength versions of cough medicine and only take a cough medicine with the approval of a medical care provider.

Classification of Medications for Pregnancy

The U S Food and Drug Administration have classified pregnnacy medications in several categories. Category A of pregnancy medications is deemed safe while Category B and Category C medications have demonstrated potential risks to the foetus. Most cough medications are classified in category B and category C of pregnancy medications owing to their alcohol content.

Types of Cough Medications

  • Cough Suppressants: These stop the urge to cough by treating dry coughs or itching in the throat. These are categorised in category C of pregnancy drugs, animal studies may have found adverse effects in the foetus but the same have not been replicated in pregnant women.
  • Decongestants: According to Food and Drug Administration, pregnant women should only use decongestants when the benefits are more than the potential risk to the foetus. Moreover, health experts are against the use of drug use during the first trimester.
  • Expectorants: These drugs help get rid of thick phlegm to make it easier to bring out of the chest when coughing. Classified under category C, expectorants should only be taken with doctor’s approval.
  • Antihistamine: According to American Family Physician, antihistamine which help cease body's reaction to allergies or agents that cause cough are categorised in category B. A pregnant woman should always consult doctor before taking antihistamine.


[Read: Home Remedies for Cough and Cold during Pregnancy]


There are several other medications that you may think are safe during pregnancy, but it is not always the case. It is important to discuss with your doctor about the specific cough medications to ensure health pregnancy. Besides, doctor will advise you on how much is appropriate amount. You need to consult a doctor even if they have approved the use of a certain cough medicine earlier in pregnancy or during a previous pregnancy.



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