The pregnant lady must have a medicine cabinet different than that of the non-pregnant lady. It’s a necessity. My pre-pregnant medicine cabinet involved a lot of Advil, the occasional Sudafed, and Alka-Seltzer when indigestive. I quickly learned that this won’t fly when pregnant. I even remember the day when my former coworker told me that you don’t get to take Advil while in a family way. I was stunned, shocked, and indignant. How would I survive? I’ve always had scoliosis and a resulting plethora of back ailments — all of which are aided by yoga, stretching and massage, but often need to be supplemented with Advil. (I actually had the thought today that I would be excited to be able to take Advil again. How sad is that?) Anyway, I’ve needed to adjust. I’ll share my current medicine cabinet with you. For the newly pregnant, I hope this helps!
On a side note, as much as we all wish we didn’t have to take meds while pregnant, you may have to. The list below has been approved by both doctors I’ve seen, my pregnancy iphone app, and several reference books.
1. Tylenol for headaches (doesn’t work as well for body aches) — Keep stocked up on regular strength Tylenol. According to my current doctor, you can really take as many as you want, and it won’t harm the baby. I try to limit myself to two in any given day, and I try not to take it more than two or three times a week. I figure Tylenol is fine for my baby — there’s tons of stuff out there that says it’s absolutely and totally harmless — but I don’t want to overdo it, particularly not for MY liver. When I’ve gotten sick (three times — a bad cold in February, a stomach virus in April, and bronchitis just now), I’ve been a bit more liberal with dosage. Doc says totally safe — don’t worry about this harming your little one. Lots of pregnant ladies get raging headaches at different points in their pregnancy, so get a bottle, and use it when need be.
2. Tums for heartburn and upset stomach — I’d much rather have an Alka-Seltzer right now for this crazy heartburn, but I can’t. Tums and Rolaids taste gross, but they work fast on heartburn and stomach upset, and will be a boon to you throughout your pregnancy. These are again fully approved by the docs, and if you look at the ingredients, they’re just calcium citrate (a highly digestible form of calcium). They’re actually recommended for women with a calcium deficiency, since they readily absorb so easily. They’re pretty much like a vitamin that soothes heartburn. Go to Costco and get a big old pack. (Tagamet, Zantac and the like are labeled OK by the docs as well.)
3. Doxylamine or Dipenhydramine for insomnia and morning sickness — These guys are found in your OTC sleep aids like Unisom or Tylenol PM. Again, labeled totes safe by many different sources. They are both antihistamines that help a lot of people sleep. I know that I have had some terrible nights without sleep, and recently I bought a bottle of dipenhydramine to get me through the bronchitis (since Nyquil is out). I just take a half of one and it soothes me to sleep. Before, I would have used the natural supplement Melatonin (which docs do NOT recommend during pregnancy). Now, this works okay. I don’t take more than one or so a week, and as I said, I split them in half. They make some people a little groggy, so start off with a quarter of a pill if you start having some severe preggo related insomnia. Crazy enough, these guys also work for morning sickness. Doctors recommend taking a half of a pill at night, and many women can attest that this helped their stomachs remain calm in the next day. Pretty cool, huh?
4. Prenatal vitamins for vitamin goodness — You gotta have prenatals! It used to be that doctors prescribed them to their patient, but my doc says the OTC kind are cheaper, and just as good these days. Most insurance won’t cover the prescription kind anymore, so going with the Vitamin Store kind is probably just fine. I checked out a bunch of different varieties, most of which you have to take three or four times a day. Ugh. I can tell you right now I’d never remember to do that. So I picked the Prenatal One Rainbow Light brand. They are all organic, include herbal supplements that calm the stomach and promote milk coming in, and you only have to take one a day! They contain all the same things that the other vites have, and they are exceptionally easy on the stomach. Get ’em on Amazon for a great price here! Take them through pregnancy and breastfeeding, and you’ll be all vitamined up. DON’T substitute a regular vitamin even if they are less expensive — they have too much vitamin A and can harm your baby!
5. Prenatal DHA supplement for fetal brain development and prevention of postpartum depression — I got a few samples of DHA supplements from my first doctor, along with some prenatal vitamin samples. I was all like, hey, I didn’t know I needed these. I then did some research and asking questions about DHA during pregnancy. DHA promotes brain and nervous system development in babies, and helps the mom’s brain and nervous system (as well as her circulatory system and cholesterol!). Nordic Naturals is definitely the best brand for fish oil — before, during, or after pregnancy. This particular DHA supplement by Nordic Naturals is formulated for pregnant women in that it has the highest level of DHA, no heavy metals, and extra vitamin D. (The fish they use is krill, which will have no mercury in ’em since fish with mercury are predatory fish, and krill are just … dinner for whales.) If you are a vegetarian or vegan, check out the Enfamil Expecta DHA supplement. These also have the added benefit of not giving any fish burps (the Nordic Naturals have only given me a few here and there — much better than the regular Costco brand of fish oil.)
6. Pregnancy tea for uterine toning and healthy pregnancy support — I totally recommend Traditional Medicinals Pregnancy Tea. It’s really yummy, calms and soothes the upset stomach, and claims to tone the uterus and prepare it for childbirth. Mostly, it’s soothing. It might not do all that it claims, but it certainly tastes good, and it can’t hurt. A great substitute for coffee drinkers!
7. Morning sickness tea for nausea, heartburn and general ick — Peppermint tea will work, and lemon ginger tea works too. But Morning Wellness Tea is the best stuff I tried. Instantly soothing to the sick stomach. It got me through many days at work, and many nights of nausea after dinner. Can’t be beat.
Start building that medicine cabinet when you first realize you’re knocked up! It will help you so much to have meds, vitamins, supplements and teas to support you through this delicate time …
On a side note, if you are trying to get pregnant, it’s great to start taking your prenatals and your DHA so that you can start nourishing your baby before you know you are pregnant.