Pregnancy Week by Week

Get a window on what’s happening in your pregnancy, week by week. From week four to week 42, your baby is experiencing a miraculous transformation from a clump of cells to a fully formed (and totally cute) newborn. Just imagine, as early as five weeks, your baby is already starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous). By eight weeks, your raspberry-sized womb-mate is moving her arms and legs. At the beginning of your second trimester (week 14), your wee one is sucking his thumb. By week 28, the first week of the third trimester, baby (now as big as an eggplant) is prepping for breathing, developing his eyesight and packing on pounds in anticipation of life outside the womb. Each week is a new miracle. Less miraculous is how a mom-to-be may feel. Pregnancy Week-by-Week charts your baby’s development but also lets mom know what she might be feeling during each week of her pregnancy. Pregnancy week by Week includes everything mom needs to know to feel a sense of control over her pregnancy. Each week offers a complete guide to what you might feel, your must-do’s, your nice-to do’s, and answers and advice on everything pregnancy-related. Plus each week’s guide offers tips on maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy from strategies on coping with pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness anyone?) to ideas for healthy eating, and pointers on talking to your OB. Let us guide you along your pregnancy, week by week.

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Q&A: What medications are safe during pregnancy?

What over-the-counter medications can I take safely in pregnancy?

Re: What over-the-counter medications can I take safely in pregnancy?

The Bump Expert

Many over-the-counter medications are safe during pregnancy, but there are a few surprising drugs that can lead to problems for your fetus. In general, always speak with your doctor prior to taking any medication(prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal). Also, keep in mind that certain vague symptoms you wouldn’t think twice about in normal times (a headache, for example) can actually indicate serious pregnancy-related complications. And, before taking any over-the-counter medication, think about what other medications you are taking. Even medications that are considered safe in pregnancy can become dangerous when they interact with others.

Here are some common pregnancy problems, along with a quick summary of related meds that are probably safe... and ones that probably aren't.

Aches and pains: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) appears to be safe during pregnancy for treating general aches, pains and headache. Medications in the NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) class, including ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) may be associated with congenital heart defects, specifically septal defects, when taken during the first trimester. NSAIDS have also been linked to other heart abnormalities and low amniotic fluid levels when used in the third trimester.

Congestion and allergy symptoms: Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and loratidine (Claritin) appear to be safe during pregnancy. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) may be associated with birth defects involving the abdominal wall. Also, decongestants (such as phenylephrine) may affect blood flow to the placenta, and should generally be avoided throughout your pregnancy.

Cough: Two major cough medication ingredients -- dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) and guaifenesin (an expectorant, which means it loosens up thick mucus) -- both appear to be safe during pregnancy, although both have been tested in relatively few studies.

Constipation: Both Metamucil and stool softeners like Colaceappear to be safe in pregnancy.Laxatives, mineral oils and rectal suppositories may stimulate labor, so should only be used after speaking with your doctor.

Heartburn: Antacids such as Tums and Mylanta appear to be safe in pregnancy, and for most women, they significantly improve heartburn symptoms. If antacids aren't enough, famotidine (Pepcid) andranitidine (Zantac) do not appear to be associated with any pregnancy complications.

All this said, there are situations where the potential benefit of taking a medication outweighs any potential risk to the fetus. The most important piece of advice regarding medication -- talk with your doctor! Be honest about your questions, concerns and medical history, and you should be just fine.

watch: get the scoop on which medications are safe to take

Plus, more from The Bump:

Is It Safe to Take Antidiarrheal Medicine?

Headache Relief Without Medication?

Is Acne Medication Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

Dr. Ashley Roman

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