Is It Safe To Take Nyquil When Pregnant?

✔ Research-backed

NyQuil is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication commonly used to relieve sore throat, cough, sneezing, headache, minor pains, aches, fever, and runny nose. While the medicine is usually safe, you might want to know if using NyQuil while pregnant is safe.

It is a common concern that several mothers may have as taking medications during pregnancy affects you and your baby, which could make you wonder, ‘Can I take Nyquil while pregnant?.’ Read this post as we tell you about the safety of NyQuil during pregnancy, its effects on the mother and the baby, and alternatives that you may consider.

In This Article

Can You Take NyQuil During Pregnancy?

NyQuil LiquiCaps are safe during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Many pregnant women are cautious about taking medication, especially when managing common conditions such as cough and cold, which could raise questions like ‘Is Nyquil safe during pregnancy?.’ Some forms of NyQuil are safe to be used by expectant mothers while some are not. The alcohol content in NyQuil Liquid has about 10% alcohol, and it is not advisable to take; NyQuil LiquiCaps and Alcohol-free NyQuil Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief Liquid can be taken (1).

But before going for any over-the-counter medications, try some simple and safe measures at home for relief. If the cold does not subside within a week or if you are experiencing high fever or any such severe symptoms, then consult your doctor and take the prescribed medication.

NyQuil And Its Ingredients

NyQuil is available in three types–NyQuil Cold and Flu, NyQuil Severe Cold and Flu, and NyQuil Cough. Each of these contains a combination of active and inactive ingredients. The below table gives you the details of the ingredients in each type.

IngredientForms of NyQuil containing the ingredientSymptoms it could treat
Acetaminophen (2)
  • NyQuil Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Severe Cold And Flu
Sore throat, fever, headache, minor aches and pains
Dextromethorphan (3)
  • NyQuil Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Severe Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Cough
Doxylamine (4)
  • NyQuil Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Severe Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Cough
Sneezing and runny nose
Phenylephrine (5)
  • NyQuil Severe Cold And Flu
Nasal congestion

Sinus pressure

AlcoholLiquid forms of:
  • NyQuil Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Severe Cold And Flu
  • NyQuil Cough

Avoid NyQuil Severe Cold And Flu, and the liquid forms containing alcohol during pregnancy (6).

protip_icon Point to consider
Speak to your doctor before taking Tylenol (acetaminophen) as an alternative to NyQuil. Experts suggest that acetaminophen in pregnancy should only be used “when needed and no safer option for pain or fever relief is available (8).”

In the next section, we tell you about the positive and negative effects of each ingredient on pregnancy.

Effects Of NyQuil Ingredients During Pregnancy

The ingredients of NyQuil might have varied effects on pregnant women and their babies. This table tells you how each ingredient works and the likely side-effects it could have during pregnancy.

IngredientHow it works in pregnancySide effects
  • Relieves pain and fever
  • Safe for short-term use
  • Safe in all trimesters
High dosages or continuous intake could increase the risk of liver damage, rashes, itching, hoarseness, swelling of the face, tongue, lips, eyes, hands and feet, and breathing difficulties (5).
DextromethorphanSafe to use in all stages
  • Dizziness, nervousness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, restlessness, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
  • Rashes in severe conditions.
  • Safe to use in all stages
  • Used in combination with pyridoxine for nausea and vomiting
    • Drowsiness, dry mouth, throat and nose, chest congestion, headache, nausea, nervousness and excitement.
    • Blurry vision and trouble while urinating in severe cases (7).
PhenylephrineRisk of birth defects in the first trimester
  • Dizziness, nervousness and sleeplessness.
  • Increased blood pressure in severe cases (8).

What Are The Alternatives To NyQuil?

If you want to avoid NyQuil or any other cold and flu medications, you may follow some simple precautionary measures at home (7):

  • Use a humidifier to reduce nasal congestion. You can fix it in your bedroom or living area where you spend most of your time.
A humidifier can be safely used during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  • Use extra pillows to prop up your head. It clears the congestion in nasal passages and makes breathing easy.
  • Blow your nose gently by closing one nostril with your finger, and clearing the other. It prevents mucus accumulation in the nasal passages.
  • Rinse stuffy nose by squirting salt water solution into the nose.
Saline water squirting can be safely done during pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

  • Gargle with warm salt water to get temporary relief from sore throat.
  • Eat infection-fighting foods such as vitamin C foods, carrots, pepper, mustard, and cranberries, zinc and echinacea.
protip_icon Quick tip
Ginger tea and chicken soup can also help safely treat cold and nasal congestion during pregnancy (9) (10).
Vitamin C-rich food can improve a pregnant woman's immunity.

Image: Shutterstock

Erin Sarile, a pregnancy vlogger, suggests a soothing remedy for cold and flu symptoms during pregnancy. She says, “I had my boyfriend, Brian, heat up some water and squeeze a little bit of lemon in there. I also stirred in some honey, maybe like half a tablespoon of honey, and that really helped to ease my throat (i).”

These cold and flu remedies and measures will give you temporary relief. Nevertheless, keep repeating them while exercising caution until the effects of cold and flu reduce.

When To Consult A Doctor?

Consult a doctor before using NyQuil when pregnant

Image: Shutterstock

A cold or flu can last up to two weeks but the intensity reduces within three to five days. See a doctor if the symptoms last more than a few days with no improvement, or if the symptoms are unusual or severe (7).

Before taking NyQuil or any other medicine, you should seek counsel from your doctor and be assured that the benefits outweigh its risks to both pregnancy and maternal health.


  • Do not take NyQuil Severe Cold and Flu during the first trimester as it contains phenylephrine, and could lead to birth defects.
  • Do not take Liquid NyQuil as it contains alcohol.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are there any studies on the effects of Nyquil on pregnant women?

Scientific studies evaluating Nyquil’s effects on pregnant women are scarce. However, some studies have looked at the individual active ingredients in Nyquil and their potential effects on fetal development. While a pharmacist may provide some valuable information about the drug, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medication during pregnancy.

2. Can I take Nyquil if I have gestational diabetes?

Nyquil may be taken during pregnancy after seeking approval from a healthcare provider if you have gestational diabetes or any other medical condition during pregnancy.

3. Is it safe to take Nyquil with other medications while pregnant?

Nyquil should not be used with other medications containing acetaminophen and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) (11). It’s important to consult your physician before taking Nyquil with other medications to ensure the drug’s safety and avoid adverse reactions.

4. Can Nyquil cause allergic reactions in pregnant women?

Acetaminophen present in Nyquil may cause allergic reactions that lead to reddening of the skin, rashes, and blisters (11). Contact your OB/GYN if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction.

5. What are the signs that I should stop taking Nyquil during pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant, refrain from using Nyquil and immediately consult a medical professional if you encounter symptoms such as nervousness, dizziness, or insomnia. Seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen or persist for more than seven days, if your fever worsens or lasts for more than three days, if you experience redness or swelling, or if new symptoms arise (11).

NyQuil is a common OTC medication used to treat colds and flu. Although it is safe to take in normal conditions, its intake during pregnancy is not advisable. The medicine may increase the risk of congenital anomalies due to its alcoholic content. Hence, it is suggested to take NyQuil when pregnant only after consulting your doctor. Thus, if you contract the flu when pregnant, consult your doctor so that it can be treated accordingly. Alternatively, try medically-approved home remedies to treat the signs of a cold or flu during pregnancy.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for a doctor’s consultation. Do not use any medication without talking to your doctor.

Infographic: Taking Nyquil When Pregnant

Nyquil products without alcohol may be taken during pregnancy. However, the lowest dose should be used only for a few days and as per the doctor’s prescription. Prolonged use or overuse may be harmful to fetal health. The infographic below discusses the general instructions to remember when taking this medicine.

notable points to remember when taking nyquil during pregrancy (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Pregnant women should avoid taking NyQuil and its other liquid forms containing alcohol.
  • NyQuil’s contents may have varying effects on pregnant women and their babies.
  • Use humidifiers, drink warm fluids, and gargle with warm salt water instead of taking NyQuil during pregnancy.
  • Always seek your gynecologist’s consent before using NyQuil or any other drug.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. What’s safe to take while pregnant; The Women’s Center at Southwest Health
  2. Acetaminophen; U.S. National Library of Medicine (2017)
  3. SaeRam Oh et al.; Dextromethorphan; NIH (2022)
  4. Doxylamine; U.S. National Library of Medicine (2018)
  5. Phenylephrine; U.S. National Library of Medicine (2018)
  6. Alcohol and pregnancy; Better Health Channel
  7. Cough and Cold During Pregnancy; American Pregnancy Association
  8. Is acetaminophen safe in pregnancy?.
  9. Sahdeo Prasad and Amit K. Tyagi; Ginger and Its Constituents: Role in Prevention and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Cancer; Gastroenterology Research and Practice (2015)
  10. K Saketkhoo et al.; Effects of drinking hot water cold water and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance; Chest; NCBI
  11. Vicks Nyquil Severe Cold And Flu.
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Dr. Christian Pope is Board-certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is a long-standing medical staff member and past chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Luke's Hospital of SouthCoast Hospitals in New Bedford, Massachusetts and is in private group practice at Hawthorn Medical Associates, Inc. He is a full bio