1-800-222-1222  •  Free • Confidential  • 24 hours a day • 7 days a week

Pregnancy FAQs

What over-the-counter pain medication can I use during pregnancy?

Talk with your healthcare provider before you start taking any medication. Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, is typically the over-the-counter pain and fever medication of choice during pregnancy. It can be taken during any trimester of pregnancy. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (called NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and aspirin are generally avoided in pregnancy unless specifically recommended by your healthcare provider.

Why do medications not have a pregnancy category anymore?

For many years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assigned Pregnancy Categories to most medications. These categories were a way to label medications based on how many studies have been done in pregnant animals and humans, and whether these studies have found any potential risks. However, the Pregnancy Categories were not updated when new studies are published, did not account for the reason a medication was being used, and did not address timing of the use during pregnancy. In December of 2014, the FDA published a final rule that requires prescription drugs and biological products to include more detailed labeling about their risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The revised labeling replaced the old five-letter system (A,B,C,D, and X) with more helpful information about a medication's possible risks. The labeling also includes contact information for pregnancy exposure registries that collect and maintain data on the effects of medications used by people who are pregnant. People who are pregnant are encouraged to enroll in these studies if they are taking drugs or biological products for which there is a registry. 

The experts at MotherToBaby Arizona have access to the most up-to-date, accurate information about medication use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Call us toll-free: 866-626-6847.

Is it okay to get the vaccines for the flu, COVID-19, and/or RSV during pregnancy?

It is recommended that all people who are pregnant get the flu shot during any trimester of pregnancy. People who are pregnant are at an increased risk for serious complications from the flu. The flu shot will help protect you from getting sick and may help protect your baby from getting the flu after birth.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people who are pregnant, recently pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or could become pregnant in the future stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. More infromation can be found in MotherToBaby's COVID-19, COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and COVID-19 protein subunit vaccine fact sheets.

The CDC recommend the Abrysvo™ RSV vaccine for people who are 32-36 weeks pregnant during RSV season. More infromation can be found in MotherToBaby's RSV and RSV vaccine fact sheets.

What about hair dye?

Getting your hair dyed or highlighted is not expected to be harmful during any trimester of pregnancy. The hair dye will not enter your system in large enough amounts to get to the pregnancy.

I take medication for my mental health and just found out that I am pregnant. Should I stop taking my medication?

Talk with your healthcare provider before making any changes to how you take your medication(s). Your mental health and well-being are important and should be appropraitely treated. Mental health conditions that are untreated or not well-controlled can increase risks to a person who is pregnant and their pregnancy. The benefits of taking any medication during pregnancy need to be balanced against the risk of untreated illess during pregnancy. Contact MotherToBaby Arizona to talk about your medication use in pregnancy.

What if the father of the baby has exposures?

Some medications may cause changes to sperm and affect fertility (ability to conceive a pregnancy). Some infections can pass to a person who is pregnant and increase risks to a pregnancy. However, the father does not share a direct blood connection with a developing pregnancy. In general, exposures that fathers or sperm donors have are unlikely to increase risks to a pregnancy. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet on Paternal Exposures.

Should I be careful about having certain foods and beverages during pregnancy?

Most foods can be eaten in pregnancy as part of a well-balanced diet. It is suggested to limit the amounts of some foods and beverages, and there are a few that should be avoided entirely. For the most updated information on certain foods and beverages as well as food safety during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, check out the MotherToBaby Fact Sheets on:

How can I get involved with pregnancy research? 

You may be eligible to participate in a MotherToBaby Pregnancy Study, a research study that collects information from a person during their pregnancy along with information about the baby’s health after the pregnancy is over. MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies are conducted by the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) and are coordinated by the University of California, San Diego. More information can be found in the fact sheet here.

Originally posted: Oct 2, 2014
Last updated: Nov 1, 2023