Can You Take NyQuil While Pregnant?

Taking NyQuil while pregnant is it safe?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 out of 10 women take over-the-counter medicine during pregnancy, while 7 out of 10 take at least one prescription medication. 

As a soon-to-be mother, it’s only natural to be cautious and concerned about the medications you use during pregnancy. 

One common question often arises: “Can you take NyQuil while pregnant?”. 

This article will explore the potential risks and safety considerations of using NyQuil and pregnancy!

NyQuil & Potential Risks for Pregnant Women

If you’re an expectant mother and have concerns about the safety of taking NyQuil during pregnancy, it’s crucial to understand what NyQuil is and the potential risks it may pose. 

NyQuil is an over-the-counter medication commonly used to relieve common cold and flu symptoms, such as cough, congestion, and fever. 

Regarding pregnancy, the effects of NyQuil’s active ingredients on the developing fetus are not well-studied.

However, we know that some NyQuil formulas contain alcohol, which can harm the developing fetus.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and other developmental complications. 

It is essential to avoid alcohol-containing products during pregnancy to minimize these risks.

NyQuil’s Active Ingredients

NyQuil contains several active ingredients that contribute to its effectiveness in treating cold and flu symptoms.

The three main ones are:

1. Acetaminophen (pain reliever/fever reducer)

Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever and fever reducer found in many OTC medications, including NyQuil.

It is considered relatively safe during pregnancy when used as directed.

However, excessive use or high doses can lead to liver damage and other complications.

2. Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant)

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant used to help control coughing. While its use during pregnancy is not extensively studied, research suggests it may be safe in moderation.

However, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any dextromethorphan medication during pregnancy.

3. Doxylamine succinate (antihistamine)

Doxylamine succinate is an antihistamine used to relieve allergy symptoms and promote sleep.

It is considered safe during pregnancy and a common ingredient in OTC sleep aids and some prescription medications for morning sickness. 

However, following the recommended dosages and consulting a healthcare professional before use is crucial.

It’s important to note that some formulations of NyQuil may contain alcohol, which should be avoided during pregnancy due to potential risks to fetal development. 

Carefully read the product label and opt for alcohol-free versions if available.

Types of NyQuil

NyQuil is available in several different formulations, each designed to target specific symptoms.

It is important to consider which type of NyQuil would be the best choice during pregnancy.

Here are the common variations of NyQuil:

NyQuil Cold & Flu

This formulation is intended to relieve multiple common cold and flu symptoms, such as coughing, nasal congestion, headache, and body aches.

NyQuil Cough

Specifically formulated to address cough symptoms, this NyQuil variant aims to relieve persistent coughing.


This version of NyQuil is formulated to tackle more severe symptoms, including intense coughing, congestion, sore throat, and headache.

When considering which type of NyQuil would be the best choice during pregnancy, looking for the specific active ingredients and their safety profiles is crucial. 

Generally, the main concern during pregnancy is including certain ingredients, such as alcohol and doxylamine succinate.

We recommend choosing the alcohol-free version of NyQuil, as alcohol consumption during pregnancy should be avoided due to potential risks to fetal development. 

Over-the-Counter NyQuil Alternatives During Pregnancy

While natural remedies can relieve cold and flu symptoms, some pregnant women may require over-the-counter medications.

It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any medication during pregnancy. 

Some pregnancy-safe medications include:

1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Acetaminophen is considered safe during pregnancy, provided it is taken as directed.

This medication can help alleviate fever, headaches, and minor aches and pains.

2. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

Although not recommended during the first trimester due to a small risk of abdominal wall birth defects, pseudoephedrine is considered safe in the second and third trimesters. 

However, it should not be taken by those with high blood pressure or a history of heart disease.

3. Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)

Chlorpheniramine is considered safe during pregnancy but is not recommended while breastfeeding.

4. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Diphenhydramine is safe throughout pregnancy and can help relieve allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose.

The Bump also has a great list of medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, and it’s definitely worth checking out!

Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy

Certain medications are not safe to take during pregnancy and should be avoided. These include:

1. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve, Midol), and Celecoxib (Celebrex), can cause harm to the developing baby and should be avoided during pregnancy.

2. Alcohol-Containing Medications

Medications containing alcohol, such as NyQuil, should be avoided as alcohol in any form can harm the developing fetus.

3. Phenylephrine-Containing Medications

Phenylephrine, found in medications like Sudafed PE, is not considered safe during pregnancy as it can cause blood vessel constriction, potentially increasing the risk of birth defects and elevated blood pressure.

Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu During Pregnancy

Before considering over-the-counter medications, there are several natural tips that pregnant women can try to alleviate cold and flu symptoms. 

These include:

1. Stay Hydrated

Drinking fluids such as water, herbal tea, and clear broth, can help flush out the virus and prevent dehydration.

2. Get Adequate Rest

Rest is essential for the body to recover from illness. Pregnant women should prioritize sleep and take naps whenever possible.

3. Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can help maintain moisture in the air, providing relief from congestion and dryness.

4. Gargle with Warm Salt Water

Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation.

5. Eat a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can provide essential nutrients for the immune system to fight infections.

6. Practice Good Hygiene

Washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with sick people, and disinfecting surfaces can help prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you take ZzzQuil when pregnant?

It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication, including ZzzQuil, during pregnancy. ZzzQuil contains diphenhydramine, an antihistamine commonly used as a sleep aid. While diphenhydramine is generally considered safe for occasional use during pregnancy, it is important to discuss its usage with a healthcare professional who can evaluate your situation and provide personalized advice.

Can I take DayQuil while pregnant?

While acetaminophen is generally considered safe for occasional use during pregnancy, dextromethorphan and phenylephrine have limited studies on their effects during pregnancy. Consulting with a healthcare professional will help determine the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

What if I took cold medicine before I knew I was pregnant?

In general, occasional use of over-the-counter cold medicine, especially during early pregnancy, is unlikely to cause significant harm. However, certain medications or high doses may carry potential risks. Discussing your situation with a healthcare professional who can evaluate the medication you took and provide personalized advice based on your circumstances is essential.

How much alcohol is in NyQuil?

Some NyQuil products contain alcohol, while others are labeled as alcohol-free. For the versions that do contain alcohol, the alcohol content is typically around 10% by volume. It is important to check the label of the specific NyQuil product you are considering to determine if it contains alcohol.

What can I take for a sore throat while pregnant?

When experiencing a sore throat during pregnancy, there are several options you can consider for relief, like: 
Saltwater gargle: Mix half a teaspoon of salt in warm water and gargle.
Honey and warm water: Add a tablespoon of honey to warm water and sip.
Lozenges and throat sprays: Look for pregnancy-safe options.
Warm liquids: Drink herbal teas, clear broths, or warm water with lemon and honey.
Steam inhalation: Inhale steam from hot water, optionally with essential oils (check safety).

Wrapping it Up

In conclusion, the safety of using NyQuil during pregnancy remains uncertain, as comprehensive research and expert opinions are limited. 

Some ingredients in NyQuil are considered relatively safe during pregnancy, while others may pose potential risks.

The safety of using NyQuil during pregnancy ultimately depends on individual circumstances and medical history.

It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any medication during pregnancy to ensure your and your baby’s well-being.

Remember, our site only reports the facts based on the findings of experts in the medical field. It should not be considered as an alternative to medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you read in this article.




  • Cam Russo

    Cam is a blogger, author, and content strategist with a keen love for the written word. His journey with high-functioning autism has kindled a strong advocacy for autism awareness. Today, Cam dedicates his efforts to educating parents. He sees laughter as a game-changer in learning, and strives every day to make education a fun and enjoyable journey for all his readers.