Phenergan is one of the most commonly prescribed anti-nausea drugs on the market. This prescription drug is a strong medicine originally used as an antihistamine, but prescribed to combat nausea and vomiting. Since many moms take Phenergan to combat either morning sickness or its more severe cousin hyperemesis gravidarum, many are concerned about the effects that it might have on an unborn baby. Here are some things you need to know about whether it’s safe to take Phenergan in pregnancy.
1. It doesn’t seem to cause birth defects. There’s no evidence at this point that Phenergan in pregnancy can cause birth defects, even when it’s taken during the fragile stage of development in the first trimester. Both human and animal studies seem to show that Phenergan isn’t likely to harm an unborn baby’s development.
2. It’s a Category C drug. The FDA gives Phenergan the pregnancy category C, meaning that it is not proven to be safe during pregnancy and may cause some problems, but that it can be prescribed when the benefits outweigh the risks for the mom-to-be according to her doctor or nurse-midwife. In general, when they’re available, Category A or Category B drugs are greatly preferred.
3. It can make babies more likely to bleed if you take it shortly before or during labor. Most moms, even with hyperemesis, do not need a treatment for vomiting during labor. But, if you’re one of the unlucky women who does take it in the third trimester, it may prevent the baby’s blood from clotting properly, which can be dangerous. If you need a nausea or vomiting treatment during labor, your doctor will probably choose a safer option.
4. There are safer alternatives and it’s not a first-resort option. There are two options for treating morning sickness that are given pregnancy category A. One if Vitamin B6, which is known to be safe during pregnancy. The other is the prescription drug Diclegis, which is the only prescription anti-nausea treatment that is considered to be absolutely safe during pregnancy. Phenergan should only be taken if other treatments aren’t working.
5. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed medicines in pregnancy. Despite concerns about its safety, Phenergan is very commonly prescribed and usually considered safe. Millions of moms take Phenergan during pregnancy every year, and almost all of them go on to have healthy babies. If there were significant concerns about Phenergan’s use during pregnancy, the risks would be apparent by now.
6. Not getting adequate treatment is also a risk. Remember: not being able to eat, or drink water, during pregnancy is a much bigger risk to your baby than most medications! Moms with untreated hyperemesis gravidarum can become dehydrated or can lose weight, or may not be able to take prenatal vitamins. These are a very real risk to an unborn baby, so it’s worth it if you need to get treatment.
If you’re still not sure whether Phenergan’s benefits outweigh the possible risks for you, get in touch with your prenatal care provider to talk about your concerns. Your doctor or midwife may prescribe a Category A treatment, or may confirm that you need to take Phenergan for your health and the baby’s. Overall, while it’s not the absolute safest option, Phenergan does much more good than harm.
For more information, visit Drugs.com for general information about Phenergan as well as the specifics of its use during pregnancy.