Medication and Substance Use During Pregnancy

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Pregnancy Is An Opportunity To Adopt Healthy Habits And Make Lifestyle Changes That Can Last A Lifetime, Benefiting You And Your Entire Family.


Smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes should be avoided during pregnancy. Women who smoke have an added risk of miscarriage because tobacco increases the risk of problems with the placenta and its potential to tear away from the uterine wall (abruption). Smoking also increases the risk of your baby being born prematurely and at a low birth weight. Babies of moms who smoke are at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and certain birth defects (i.e., cleft lip). Please stop smoking during pregnancy. Call 800-quit-now for help or talk with your health care provider.

Drug Use

Oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax, Valium, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and illicit drugs must be avoided during pregnancy. They can cause premature birth and low birth weight. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is seen in babies born to mothers who use these medications/drugs during pregnancy. The baby becomes addicted to the drug during pregnancy and then, at birth, goes through withdrawal, experiencing multiple symptoms (i.e., crying, diarrhea, etc.), frequently leading to a prolonged stay in the neonatal ICU for detoxification.


Alcohol should also be avoided during pregnancy. There is no known safe limit. In the United States, substance abuse—including alcohol consumption—during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability in children. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is characterized by a cluster of symptoms including low birth weight, facial deformities, small head size, low IQ and behavioral problems. Heavy drinking (more than 2 drinks per day) or binge drinking (more than 5 drinks on one occasion) can lead to FAS. Even moderate drinking (1–2 drinks per day) has been associated with attention deficit and memory problems in children.

Medication Use During Pregnancy

Even some over-the-counter medications aren’t safe in pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer during common illnesses or the typical discomforts of pregnancy. Below is a list of common problems and over-the-counter medications considered safe to use for them. If you develop symptoms with a fever, symptoms of depression or anxiety, or any other sign of illness, consult with your doctor. Many prescription medications, including some antibiotics and antidepressants, are also safe to use in pregnancy.

Insomnia Tylenol® PM, Benadryl,® Unisom®
Constipation prevention – fiber supplements FiberCon,® Fiber Choice, ® Metamucil, ® Citrucel, ® All Bran® or Fiber One® cereal.
Constipation treatment – stool softeners Colace® or Surfak®
Constipation treatment  laxatives Miralax®
Constipation treatment – suppositories Glycerin or Dulcolax®
Constipation treatment – enemas Fleet®
Cough & cold Robitussin,® Robitussin DM, cough drops
Congestion Sudafed,® Actifed,® Tylenol Sinus AM or PM, Tylenol Cold, Benadryl, Vicks® VapoRub, Claritin® or Claritin D, Mucinex®
Nosebleeds Saline spray or drops, humidifier
Headache or pain Tylenol or Tylenol Extra-Strength
Sore throat Tylenol, Tylenol Extra-Strength, cough drops, Chloraseptic®
Diarrhea Imodium® AD
Acne Benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil®) or salicylic acid products
Indigestion TUMS,® Mylanta,® Gaviscon,® Zantac,® Tagamet® or Pepcid® AC, Prilosec OTC,® Prevacid®
Nausea Emetrol,® Unison,® Vitamin B6, Ginger capsules
Round ligament pain Tylenol or Tylenol Extra Strength, microwave heating pad, ThermaCare® heat packs
Itching Benadryl tablets or cream
Yeast infection 3 to 7 day antifungal—Monistat,® Femstat®
Hemorrhoids Preparation H® (with cortisone), AnuSol,® Tucks® pads
Cold sore Abreva®

Is it Time to Schedule Your Annual Wellness Exam?

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Is it Time to Schedule Your Annual Wellness Exam?

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What People Are Saying

Toni G
I've been seeing Dr. Price for many years and have always had a great experience with her. Dr. Price has always listened to me and addressed all of my questions and concerns. My only complaint is with a former nurse I saw for medical issues who didn't further investigate them and it got progressively worse. Luckily the current nurse practitioner diagnosed me correctly and have received the correct treatment.
Morgan Miller
When I was looking for a gyno, Jeanette and Dr. Booth came highly recommended from family that see them and rightly so! Jeanette has the best bedside manner and takes the time to be thorough and understand the patient. When I had an issue outside of office hours, I was able to submit a question on the Follow My Health app and got a phone call in less than 30 minutes from the care team. They’re the best and I tell everyone about them!
Jennifer Stephens
I’ve been a patient at Women 1st for 16 years and cannot say enough about this practice. Every staff member is caring, friendly, and very good at what they do. The physicians & nurses are some of the best in the state of Kentucky, which is why I currently live in Georgetown and drive to Louisville to continue my care. Highly recommend Dr. Warren or Dr. Price!
Kailee Kaiser
Jeannette Jaggers, APRN is GREAT! I drive a hour and a half just to see her! Makes you feel comfortable and truly cares about YOU! Very happy to have her as my OB/GYN.