Any kind of chemical that an expecting mother consumes during her pregnancy may have an impact on the life growing inside her. Medicines and even certain foods have chemicals in them. It is, therefore, very important that you know what you are consuming during pregnancy, even for minor conditions like a cold or a congested nose.
In this article, we talk about phenylephrine, a component found in several over-the-counter medicines. Is it okay to consume during pregnancy? Will there be any adverse or long-term ill effects on the mother or the child? These are all legitimate questions, but first, to answer them, we must dig more into what it is and find out the relationship between phenylephrine and pregnancy.
What Is Phenylephrine?
Phenylephrine is a drug that is used by medical professionals as a decongestant in order to help with bodily functions, such as dilating pupils, relieve haemorrhoids, nasal congestion, sinuses or even hay fever. This chemical, however, is found in multiple over-the-counter drugs.
You might be consuming phenylephrine unknowingly because it provides relief. You might be practising caution in case you are pregnant with respect to the medication that you take. But, what should you do in case you catch a cold or feel like your sinuses are congested? Is it okay to take phenylephrine? Will it lead to any harm? Read on for more information.
Is Phenylephrine Safe During Pregnancy?
Phenylephrine is not safe for consumption by pregnant women, especially in the first trimester of their pregnancy. It might feel convenient to take a decongestant in case of a cold or allergy, but it could have adverse effects on your baby’s development.
The drug works by narrowing blood vessels which helps reduce the amount of nasal secretion, which in turn, helps open up the air passages. Unfortunately, this narrowing of blood vessels is not just restricted to the nasal area because the drug does the same in the uterus. Narrowing blood vessels in the uterus could lead to your foetus receiving reduced blood flow, and therefore, less oxygen. This can lead to birth defects in your baby, which any parent would like to avoid.
Phenylephrine Pregnancy Category
Phenylephrine is alright under normal circumstances because it helps many people across the world from the discomfort caused due to different types of congestion. It is a Category C medicine, which means that it has been tried and tested on animals that have been pregnant and have shown to not have any adverse effects on the fetus. However, there have been no controlled tests conducted on humans, so there is no hard evidence, and at this point, it is conjecture. This means that the consensus that has been arrived at is only by following the route of the chemical and how it affects the body.
Safe Substitutes Pregnant Women Can Use Instead of Phenylephrine
Congestion is a common issue and has been present since the dawn of mankind. There are many alternative ways that will help you heal in case you feel congested in your nasal or chest area. Medicines are available just to make sure that the symptoms die out a lot quicker than they would naturally so that you can get back to your normal life. For the most part, the symptoms will disappear on their own in a few days, but in order to accelerate the healing process, you can try these non-medicinal ways to help your body recover.
- Drink lots of fluids to ensure that the congestion gets washed away. With a cold or congestion, staying hydrated is a definite way to accelerate recovery.
- Make sure to sleep and rest a lot. While the body is asleep or relaxing, it will provide itself with all the energy needed to fight off the viruses.
- Inhale steam or take hot showers. The steam usually helps clear up the nasal passage and fight off the congestion.
- Menthol rubs help fight off colds and throat issues. Rubbing some around your nose and temple area helps ward off the cold viruses.
When to See a Doctor
Be sure to always consult your doctor before starting any medication. The doctor should be aware of all your health issues, and he/she could also provide you with an alternative without using harmful chemicals. In case you have a cold or some sort of congestion, make sure you reach out to the doctor right away in case it is accompanied by any of the following:
- Bleeding from your private parts.
- Pain in the chest area.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Difficulty with breathing
We strongly discourage the consumption of any over-the-counter medication during pregnancy, including phenylephrine. However, in case you want to buy medication from the pharmacy, make sure you read the labels carefully to know the composition of the drug so that you can make an informed decision. Of course, consulting your doctor in advance is also recommended to know which chemical compounds you should avoid during pregnancy for the safety of her baby.
A common cold is nothing to worry about since it is not life-threatening. However, it can definitely be a nuisance, especially if you are pregnant. Be careful with the medication you consume while your baby is growing inside you. In order to keep yourself and your baby safe, make sure you try all non-medical alternatives for simple ailments or else consult a medical professional to get the right kind of advice. Do not self medicate under any circumstance as pregnancy is sort of a walk on a fine line to make sure your baby is safe and grows up to be healthy and strong.