Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are medicines that you can buy without a prescription from your doctor.
Conception occurs about 2 weeks before your period would have been due. That means you may not even realize you’re pregnant until you’re more than 3 weeks along. Your baby is most vulnerable 2 to 8 weeks after conception. This is when your baby’s facial features and organs (such as the heart and kidneys) begin to form. Any medicine you take (and anything you eat, drink, smoke, or are exposed to) can affect your baby. That’s why it’s best to start acting as if you are already pregnant whenever you are trying to become pregnant.
If you need to take medicine regularly because of a health problem or condition, talk with your doctor about your treatment before you try to get pregnant. There may be other ways to treat your condition during pregnancy rather than taking medicine.
Women who don’t get enough folic acid during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby who has serious problems of the brain or spinal cord. These problems can occur very early in pregnancy, which is why it’s important to get enough folic acid even when you’re just trying to get pregnant. The recommended amount is 0.4 mg a day. Sources include fortified cereals and breads, dark green leafy vegetables, oranges, bananas, milk, dry beans, grains, and organ meats (such as chicken livers). Your doctor also may suggest that you take a vitamin that contains folic acid.
The following are some basic guidelines for taking OTC medicines when you’re pregnant:
The following are some basic guidelines for taking OTC medicines when you're breastfeeding:
Funding and support for this material have been provided by the Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff