Previously, I covered some common ailments that can be safely treated with over-the-counter medications during pregnancy. Part two is a continuation with similar information regarding several gastrointestinal issues that may arise during pregnancy and what you can do if you experience these symptoms.
Dramamine (dimenhydrinate or less-drowsy meclizine), which is often used for motion sickness is safe in pregnancy and can also be used for nausea. Ginger herbal supplements, candied ginger, and lozenges have been shown to decrease the symptoms and are safe to use during pregnancy. Ginger ale containing real ginger extract can also provide relief. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has been shown to effectively treat the nausea related to morning sickness and can be used alone or in combination with an antihistamine such as doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom) or Benadryl (diphenhydramine). One drug-free alternative for treating nausea is Sea-Band, which works through acupressure to relieve the nausea/vomiting sensation.
Antacids such as Tums (calcium carbonate) can be used to decrease acid in the gastrointestinal tract to reduce heartburn. Similar antacid medication is found in Maalox and Mylanta (magnesium, aluminum, and simethicone) and provides a liquid alternative. Acid reducers such as Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), or Zantac (ranitidine) can be used if symptoms are not relieved by antacids. Drug-free alternatives for heartburn include lifestyle changes: avoid spicy foods, eating within 3 hours of bedtime, elevate the head of the bed with pillows, and avoid wearing constricting clothes.
Colace (docusate) is a stool softener that can be used to help pass stool in cases of constipation. Fiber-containing laxatives such as Metamucil (psyllium) and Citrucel (methylcellulose) can be used to restore bowel movement regularity. Glycerin suppositories are more invasive, but can be used as an alternative for constipation. To treat constipation without the use of medications you can increase your amount of physical activity to maintain active bowel movements as well as increasing water intake to hydrate and soften stools naturally.
The easiest and one of the most important things to do when you have diarrhea is to stay hydrated with water and electrolyte drinks, such as Pedialyte. A diet of bland foods known as the BRAT diet can be followed in cases of diarrhea during pregnancy. The diet includes Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast, they are all low-fiber foods thought to help decrease gastrointestinal upset. Immodium AD (loperamide) can be used for severe cases of diarrhea not resolved by other means.
Pregnancy can come with many issues and concerns; at Dougherty’s we want to do whatever we can to help lessen any concerns you have during your pregnancy. I hope this information has helped put you at ease knowing you can still treat symptoms that appear while you are pregnant. If you have any questions regarding your medications don’t hesitate to ask one of our pharmacists, they are valuable resources who are always available to help.