Can you take throat lozenges while pregnant – or is that a terrible idea?

It's okay to suck lozenges when pregnant.
It's okay to suck lozenges when pregnant.

When you’re pregnant, it seems like everything is off limits: sushi, caffeine, soft cheese – the list of taboo items goes on (and on and on).

That goes doubly for medications. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both have entire websites dedicated to the topic of the meds pregnant women can and can’t take – NSAIDS like Advil, for instance, have been linked to higher rates of birth defects compared to pain medications like acetaminophen, per the CDC.

But what about cough or throat lozenges? While, yes, they contain active ingredients for cough-suppressant purposes, they’re pretty tame as far as medications go. So can you reach for them when you’re dealing with a nasty cold – or no? (PS, thanks, compromised immune system!)

Read more: “No one tells you about constipation during pregnancy”

So what’s the deal? Can you take lozenges while pregnant?

Honestly, there’s not much info out there about the safety of lozenges during pregnancy, which can make the topic even more confusing. “There are no studies looking at the safety of menthol, the typical active ingredient in lozenges during pregnancy,” explains Dara Godfrey, a dietitian at Reproductive Medicine Associates in New York.

But even without tons of research, the Cleveland Clinic says menthol throat lozenges are fine to take, as directed, during pregnancy. Dr Mary Jane Minkin, an obstetric-gynaecologist and clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine also says that she has never told women they cannot take lozenges during pregnancy.

The same goes for dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in cough suppressant medicines) too, which the American Pregnancy Association deems safe for use during pregnancy.

But before you go stock up on lozenges and start popping them at even the slightest tickle, it’s always a good idea to touch base with your doctor before trying any new medicine while pregnant. And if you still aren’t comfortable taking lozenges while pregnant, sip on some hot water with lemon, ginger, and honey, says Godfrey, which can also help minimise your cough (because let’s be real, any coughing during pregnancy is painful).

The bottom line: Assuming your doc’s in the loop, go ahead and take lozenges in moderation if you have a cold during pregnancy

This article was originally published on

Image credit: iStock

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