Cough Drops During Pregnancy: Are They safe?


Imagine having a sore throat and not being able to suck on those magic tablets, even if you can practically feel your throat burn. Cough drops are really the saviour, our quick fix for a throat that will otherwise be a constant source of discomfort throughout the day. But it is true that the advent of a new life inside you can change you forever and you are always worried about what might affect your baby. You are ready to sacrifice your comfort for your baby and that is exactly where the joy of motherhood lies. But do cough drops actually affect your and your baby’s health during pregnancy? How safe are they? Read to find out more about usage of cough drops during pregnancy.

What are cough drops?

Cough drops are basically medicated lozenges designed to give relief to the strained tissues of the throat as a result of cough and cold. These are generally made of anesthetic substances like benzocaine, eucalyptus oil, menthol, peppermint and honey.  Some of the popular brands of these include Ricola, Halls, Vicks and so on.

Why do you require cough drops?

If you have gone through a pregnancy before, you might already know that sore throats are one of the major concerns during pregnancy. When you are pregnant, it is not even absurd or abnormal to wake up to a sore throat every alternative day. So, as you can already understand, this might be a very uncomfortable situation to be in and cough drops in such conditions would be your ultimate saviour! The possible reasons of your sore throat may be change in the outside temperature, change in temperature inside your body, the reflux and heartburn that you go through quite often, or even a pregnancy allergy that affects the throat.

Cough drops are apparently nothing more than small sweet tablets that clears your throat when swallowed. It basically dissolves slowly, making way through your throat and clearing it of the infection. These cough drops being medicated are also supposed to cure cough. The medicines contained also smoothen and lubricate the affected throat tissues.

Must Know Things about Use of Cough Drops During Pregnancy

cough drops during pregnancy

Which are the ingredients safe to use during pregnancy and which aren’t?

Choosing which ingredient to use while pregnancy can be a difficult decision indeed. This is a very crucial period and of course you would not want to affect your child’s health at the cost of anything. Hence, it is extremely important you to know what are the ingredients that you can safely consume while you are pregnant. The following ingredients can be used without fear even when you are carrying:

  • The ones that contain dextromethorphan and guaifenesin (an expectorant) are usually relatively safe to use both for the mother as well as the foetus.
  • Menthols are commonly used during pregnancy but there are no scientific or medical evidences that have proven this fact. Hence, there is no such guarantee that these do not affect the baby at all in any way.
  • Eucalyptus oil is usually not recommended for pregnancy as it can have a number of effects on the mother including nausea and accompanied symptoms. But in cough drops, very little amount of it is used. Hence it is usually safe to take.
  • Zinc is a very important ingredient of cough drops and it is equally important a nutrient to take during pregnancy as it builds up the immune system. As the immunity system already deteriorates with pregnancy, zinc helps in restoring that lack by improving the immunity system.
  • Pectin is also a safe ingredient to consume during pregnancy.

What are the side effects of consuming cough drops during pregnancy?

  • Risk of gestational diabetes: Cough drops often contain a lot of sugars, certain herbs or corn syrups which are not at all recommended during pregnancy. They often increase risks of gestational diabetes which can be harmful both for the baby as well as the mother.
  • Nausea: Cough drops often contain peppermint which cause nausea in women.
  • Sensitivity towards strong fragrances: Pregnant women are mostly very sensitive towards strong fragrances. The smell of eucalyptus is often strong enough for pregnant women to handle. Hence, it is recommended against.
  • Risk of hyperglycemia: Cough drops often contain a lot of sweeteners which can easily cause the level of blood sugar to rise in would-be mothers which is of course not desirable for the health of the baby as well as the mother.

What are the natural alternatives to cough drops?

The main purpose of cough drops as already evident, is to cure sore throats along with coughs. So, the following alternatives which are safe during pregnancy can be used instead of cough drops:

  • Honey lemon tea
  • Chamomile tea
  • Hot ginger tea
  • Humidifiers
  • Homemade soups
  • Sucking on a clove of garlic
  • Gargling with salt water
  • Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated

It is very normal to be confused about what you can take and what you cannot take during pregnancy. For every mother, the health of the baby is the first priority, which is why they should be very careful about what they are consuming during this period of pregnancy. Hence, if you want to be completely safe with cough drops, make sure you consider avoiding those lozenges that contain the ingredients like menthol, dextromethorphan, or peppermint oil. Whenever you go for some medication or the like, it is always safe to consult your doctor before you go for it. Remember that “prevention is always better than cure” and hence before you go for some medication or some food that you think can affect yours or your baby’s health, do not hesitate to consult your doctor.