How Safe Is Sudafed While Pregnant? Can You Take It?

sudafed while pregnant

Sometimes happy moments of expectation of the baby are overshadowed by various kinds of ailments: nausea, headache, or even cold. The first thing we encounter with this diagnosis is a runny nose. How to treat, if during pregnancy, not all the means are equally good, because they affect the future baby? Moreover, unfortunately, most of the currently available drugs are generally strictly contraindicated during pregnancy. Nevertheless, the runny nose that tells us about the common cold is not at all safe, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. So, how can you help yourself? Can you take Sudafed while pregnant?

What Is Sudafed?

Sudafed, also known as “pseudoephedrine hydrochloride,” is a decongestant. It is used to relieve stuffy noses and sinus congestion.


Forms of the drug:

  1. “Sudafed” – syrup: a transparent, moderately viscous liquid, with a slight characteristic aroma and neutral taste.
  2. “Sudafed” – nasal spray: clear liquid, without foreign mechanical inclusions.

sudafed while pregnant. sudafed nasal


After oral administration:

  • Active components of the drug are actively absorbed in the digestive tract.
  • With local application of the spray, the drug begins to act after 5-10 m.


Pharmacological action:

  • Combined expectorant.
  • The implementation of vasoconstrictive, mucolytic, sympathomimetic action.
  • Reducing the viscosity of phlegm. Also improving the removal of it from the respiratory tract.
  • Improvement of the composition of the bronchial secretion by increasing the volume of water contained in it.
  • Slight sedation.
  • Elimination of edema of mucous membranes, which is caused by vasoconstrictive action.
  • Minor stimulating effect on the central nervous system.

Indications for Use

Make sure to use the medicament strictly according to the indications:

“Sudafed” syrup:

  • Tracheitis, taking place in an acute form.
  • Inflammatory process, capturing the mucosa of the trachea.
  • Bronchitis (an acute diffuse inflammation of the tracheobronchial tree).
  • Influenza and ARVI.
  • Other injuries of the respiratory tract, where there is productive expectoration of phlegm.

sudafed while pregnant. sudafed pe

“Sudafed” spray:

  • Allergic inflammation.
  • Swelling of the nasal mucosa.
  • Inflammatory phenomena localized in the paranasal sinuses.
  • Inflammation of the Eustachian tube caused by colds, especially against the background of asthmatic conditions.
  • Rhinitis of allergic origin.
  • Nasal congestion.


  • High sensitization to the components of the drug.
  • Dry atrophic rhinitis (for spray).
  • Arterial hypertension.
  • Heart failure.
  • Diabetes.
  • Thyrotoxicosis (excess amount of thyroid gland hormones).
  • Glaucoma and conditions accompanied by increased intraocular pressure.
  • Hypertrophy of the prostate.
  • Dysfunction of the liver, kidneys.

sudafed while pregnant. sudafed pills


Description of overdose symptoms:

  • Anxiety, irritability.
  • Convulsive conditions.
  • Tremor encompassing the limbs.
  • Increased pressure, tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Discomfort, pain localized in the epigastric region.
  • Vomiting, nausea.

Ways of Relief?

  • Symptomatic treatment.
  • Gastric lavage.
  • Maintaining the respiratory system.
  • Catheterization of the bladder.
  • For a faster removal of active substances, doctors can suggest dialysis.

Side Effects and Special Instructions

Description of side effects:

  • Hallucinations (images that arise in the mind, without the involvement of an external stimulus).
  • Sleep disturbance, including insomnia.
  • Dryness and viscosity, arising in the oral cavity, nasopharynx.
  • Tachycardia, impaired heartbeat.
  • Rashes on the skin.
  • Delayed urination.

sudafed while pregnant. dizziness during pregnancy

Special Instructions

The drug can cause drowsiness and affect the reaction rate. Keep that in mind when engaging in dangerous activities and driving a car.

Also, Sudafed is not compatible with alcohol.

If the drug is prescribed for the elderly, the dose adjustment and control of the liver and kidneys are indicated.

“Sudafed” is not suitable for chronic and persistent cough, including, accompanying emphysema, asthma, and smoking.

Sudafed’s Pregnancy Category

Sudafed carries a pregnancy Category C designation. This means that studies conducted on pregnant animals have demonstrated adverse effects on the fetus when Sudafed was administered. At the same time, no well-controlled studies have been conducted on pregnant women. The studies conducted on animals didn’t result in any fetal birth defects. But, when given in high doses, Sudafed resulted in a decrease in average weight, length and bone formation rate.

Who Shouldn’t Take Sudafed?

If you suffer from hypertension, you should avoid taking Sudafed while pregnant. It can increase your blood pressure. If this is the case, check with your doctor about other safer alternatives to relieve the congestion.sudafed while pregnant. doctor's office

Sudafed while Pregnant

In general, taking decongestants during pregnancy is safe after the first trimester. Still, it is better to get a doctor’s approval first. Theoretically, decongestants can have an adverse effect on the fetus due to the narrowing of the vessels caused by them. However, studies do not show the presence of clear evidence of this. Doctors usually recommend the use of decongestants in the form of nasal sprays during pregnancy, since it is believed that they are associated with fewer risks. Although try to keep their use to a minimum. Decongestants pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, better known as Sudafed® and Sudafed PE®, are generally considered safe after the first trimester. Although pregnant women need to consider the potential side effects that they may have on the fetus.

Decongestants cause constriction of blood vessels in the body, including arteries in the uterus, thus reducing blood flow to the fetus.

In theory, this can lead to congenital malformations and low birth weight. Although, there no convincing evidence for this yet. Taking Sudafed while pregnant can also increase blood pressure, which is dangerous for the mother and the baby, especially if the mother’s pressure is already high. And although careful use of decongestants during pregnancy is generally safe, before using them, it is better to consult a doctor.

sudafed while pregnant. Pregnant belly with pink ribbon

When there is no special need to take medication for a cold, then do not take Sudafed while pregnant with a blockage of the sinuses of the nose, disturbing sleep. If there are any doubts, consult your doctor. Tell him about the symptoms and the medicine that you intend to take. The doctor can offer a safer option.

A Note About Sudafed PE

Sudafed PE is a little different from regular Sudafed because it contains phenylephrine HCl instead of pseudoephedrine HCI. Phenylephrine HCl is not considered safe for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester. It is associated with birth defects. When taken orally, phenylephrine HCl can narrow the blood vessels in the uterus, which can decrease blood flow. This prevents the fetus from getting enough oxygen, which can slow the baby’s heartbeat and even cause birth defects.

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