Learn something new every day More Info... by email
Guaifenesin is an expectorant that is often used to relieve a cough and congestion, as it tends to thin the mucus in the body. It is part of pregnancy category C, which means that it should only be taken when necessary since studies have shown it to cause some harmful effects in animal fetuses. While some doctors have claimed that it is okay for use in moderation during pregnancy, most advise women to wait until after the first trimester since the unborn baby is most susceptible to harm from medications during this time. Thus, even though some women take guaifenesin in order to increase their chances of pregnancy, it should not typically be continued once pregnancy is achieved unless the benefit outweighs the risks.
This drug often appears on lists of medications that pregnant women can take safely, but what many lists leave off are the instructions to only take it in moderation. In fact, the first step of a pregnant woman with a cough is to see a doctor for a diagnosis. Once she is sure that the cough does not indicate a serious illness, she is advised to try cough drops or home remedies to stop the problem. If this solution does not help, and the coughing and congestion interrupt sleep or daily activities, it may be considered safe to take a medication that contains guaifenesin. It should be noted, however, that one of the main issues of taking guaifenesin during pregnancy is the fact that most drugs contain more than just this element, making it important to check the other ingredients before taking the medication.
The main concerns of taking guaifenesin during pregnancy include a few defects that may occur in the unborn baby. For instance, some research shows a slightly higher chance of an inguinal hernia, which is when some of the abdominal contents protrude through the wall of the abdomen. Fortunately, not only is this typically easy to repair, but the association between this issue and guaifenesin during pregnancy is not considered a strong one according to various studies. In fact, the association between this medication and neural tube defects, which is another commonly mentioned risk, has also been found to be rather weak. Therefore, those who must take guaifenesin during pregnancy should not be overly concerned with major risks to the unborn baby, especially when it is taken occasionally, and in moderation.
Many women who have trouble conceiving opt to take guaifenesin just before ovulation. This is likely because it is known for thinning out the mucus in the chest, and it tends to work the same way for cervical mucus. Thinner is typically better in this case since fluids make it easier for sperm to travel to the cervix, increasing the chances of conception. Of course, such women are still advised to avoid taking guaifenesin during pregnancy unless it is really necessary, just to be on the safe side.