Medication Pregnancy Tips: Is Benadryl or Tylenol Ok?

Last updated: August 2, 2019

Contributed by:
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
View Full Profile

Most expecting mothers would prefer to skip any medication, even Benadryl and Tylenol, during pregnancy to make everything safe for the coming baby. However, there are some symptoms or medical conditions that would still require you to take medicines.  

You might think that medication and pregnancy don’t go together, but there are times when medication could actually help.

A few common pregnancy health and medication questions include:

  • Are you worried about having the flu while pregnant?
  • Are you thinking if being pregnant with a cold won’t be good for the baby?
  • Can you take Benadryl while pregnant?
  • Can you take Tylenol while pregnant?

Here are some medication and pregnancy tips to give you an idea on which ones, like Benadryl and Tylenol, are safe to take, which ones are a definite no. Also, to remind you that the fine print on drug inserts must be read carefully, and that whenever you’re in doubt, consult a doctor.

Medicines That Are Mostly Considered Safe for Pregnant Women

Be it prescribed, over-the-counter, like Benadryl or Tylenol, or herbal, there’s no medication that is 100 percent safe for pregnant women to take. On a happy note, there are only a few medications that are known to cause harm to a growing fetus, and most can be taken or applied safely by pregnant women. There are those that are actually necessary.

The list below has some of the medications that are on experts’ safe lists, but remember to always consult your practitioner before using them. Ask your practitioner about the appropriate dosage and brand for you.

  • Acetaminophens: Acetaminophens are mostly approved for expecting moms’ consumption. It’s the active component in Tylenol that deals with fever and pain.
  • Antihistamines: Some pregnant women may be allowed to take Antihistamines, but not all are safe to be taken. Doctors usually prescribe Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Not all practitioners will tell you to take loratadine and some might advise you to wait for the second trimester.
  • Skin Care Creams: Creams for skin rashes like Benadryl are deemed safe to be used by pregnant women. Pregnancy skin care should always be a thought. 
  • Sleep Medicine: Most practitioners allow sleep medication like Tylenol PM but consult your doctor first.

Antacids that have calcium carbonates, antidiarrheal treatment, antihistamines, dextromethorphan found in cough medication, fiber laxatives, gas aids, nasal sprays with steroids, saline sprays, nasal strips, medication for asthma and diabetes, Vicks Vaporub, witch hazel are all usually allowed.

It’s essential to make sure that you consult your doctor first before you take any of these as every pregnant woman’s condition is different from the other. What’s good for most may not be good for you and vice versa.

This safe list has definitely answered the questions can you take Benadryl while pregnant, can you take Tylenol while pregnant, if it’s okay to take Benadryl or Tylenol, and what you should use when you’re pregnant with a cold. Medication and pregnancy can co-exist after all.

Medicines That Pregnant Women Could Be Allowed To Take

Particular health conditions may allow the following types of medication to be taken, but usually, close supervision is needed. Medication like antibiotics, antidepressants, aspirin (off-limits while on your third trimester), Ibuprofen (should be avoided while on your first and third trimester and can only be used when prescribed by your doctor who knows that you’re pregnant).

Medicines That Pregnant Women Should Avoid

ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors for hypertension and congestive heart failure, decongestants pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, isotretinoin, methotrexate, naproxen, non-steroid-based nasal sprays with ozymetazoline, and valporic acid should all be avoided as they cause different defects and even miscarriage.

Antibiotics for Pregnant Women

Antibiotics are given to deal with bacterial infections. It won’t be effective if you have the flu while pregnant. If your doctor told you to use it while you’re pregnant, it means that treating the infection is more important than experiencing the side effects.

If you’re also taking probiotic supplements to replace the good bacteria lost because of the antibiotics, remember that you should take them a few hours apart from when you take the antibiotics. Avoid tetracycline, azithromycin, clarithromycin, metronidazole, quinolones, and sulfonamides.

Taking Your Medicines Safely

Consult your doctor first before you take Benadryl, Tylenol, herbal medication, and supplements. Ensure that your doctor knows that you’re pregnant and if you’re taking any other kind of medication. Make sure that you know how often you should take your medication, where you should store it, if you need to avoid any other type of medication, food or beverage, and how your medicines should appear.

Check all of the labels, read your patient information sheet carefully, don’t change the dosage, don’t skip doses, and don’t stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor.


The FDA has enforced a labeling system for medicines like Benadryl or Tylenol where there are detailed summaries of the effects on pregnancy, lactation, and reproductive potential. Expecting and nursing mothers can get a better understanding of the medicine’s effects on them and their babies.

If you are still on the fence about pregnancy and medication, get answers from a real doctor. Our free online doctor chat is always open, and no appointment is needed. Get the health answers you and your baby need and deserve from the comfort of your home.

After all, if you’re pregnant, getting around may not be top on your list, especially if you’re expecting this winter. Simply click the button below and talk to a doctor online now.

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Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker:

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

About Richard Honaker M.D.

Dr. Richard Honaker has over 40 years of experience as a primary care physician specializing in several different areas of medicine. He is able to provide expert case review and analysis for insurance and workers compensation cases as well as providing online medical consultations as the Chief Medical Advisor for Your Doctors Online.

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