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Is Vicks safe during pregnancy? Everything You Need To Know!

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Is Vicks safe during pregnancy? Here’s what to know, plus other tips and products to help you manage your health while pregnant!

If you’re a first time mom, you probably don’t know which medications are safe during pregnancy. And it can be difficult to sift through all the options when you’re already experiencing cold symptoms. So we’re breaking down some safe options for you!

When it comes to medications, there are plenty of no-no’s, but lots of approved options, too.

Is Vicks one of them? Here’s everything you need to know, plus other tips and products to manage your health during pregnancy!

RELATED: Is elderberry safe during pregnancy?

Is Vicks safe during pregnancy?

Blue and green tub of Vicks Vaporub, safe pregnancy medication, next to mask.

Yes and no!

When most people hear “Vicks” they immediately think of the “Vaporub”. But, Vicks carries multiple products for cold and sickness. Some Vicks products are safe while others aren’t.

You should avoid products with ephedrine (not enough is known about the effects on an unborn baby) and phenylephrine hydrochloride. Phenylephrine hydrochloride can reduce blood flow and is especially dangerous for those with a history of preeclampsia.

The main ingredients in the Vaporub are safe when applied topically: camphor, eucalyptus oil, menthol, and turpentine oil. However, camphor can lead to miscarriage when ingested. Vicks is safe during pregnancy only when used properly.

Here are the Vicks products that are generally safe:

Products to use with doctor’s approval:

  • Vicks Cold & Flu Care Medinite Complete Syrup
  • Vicks Sinex nasal spray range. The active ingredient in this spray is oxymetazoline. While no adequate studies have been done on pregnant woment, it may be safe for short-term use if needed. 

Not safe for pregnancy:

  • Vicks Sinex decongestant capsules. These capsules contain phenylephrine, which is not safe for a pregnant mother.

It is always recommended that you speak with your health care provider before using any medication you aren’t sure about.

Other Safe Cold Medications and Treatments During Pregnancy

Sick pregnant woman on the couch next to coffee table with different medications.

Non-Medicinal Treatments

When pregnant, it’s a good idea to try natural remedies first (except in the case of a fever). Make sure you get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Steam and heat can be your best friend to fight both congestion and throat irritation.

Foods and beverages like soup and herbal teas can bring much-needed relief. And you can ease muscle aches and headaches with a cold compress.

If you’re experiencing nasal congestion, here are some other non-medicinal treatments to try. These methods can help clear your nasal passages and provide quick sinus relief:

If you need a natural cough suppressant, you can try:

  • Honey tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Steam
  • Gargling warm salt water

RELATED: Can pregnant women drink Gatorade?

Pregnancy-Safe Medicinal Treatments

While Vicks is generally safe during pregnancy, there are plenty of other over the counter medications you can try, too. Here are some of the most popular cold medications for pregnant women. These products can provide relief from sore throat, stuffy nose or runny nose as well as other symptoms like sinus headache and fever.

  • Tylenol
  • Sudafed (Be sure to select pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine; you should NOT take Sudafed PE. Avoid use during the first trimester and while breastfeeding. And those who have high blood pressure should consult with their doctor before use).
  • Robitussin DM (Just be sure to consult your doctor if you’re in the first trimester).
  • Expectorants like Mucinex (Check with your doctor about dosages).
  • Benadryl
  • Throat lozenges
  • Claritin

And here’s a comprehensive list of safe medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding from AWH. This covers all sorts of maladies including allergies, constipation and yeast infection.

When should I be concerned?

It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor about new medications, but a general cold isn’t necessarily a reason to be concerned and hop on the phone. Mild illnesses are very common while pregnant because your immune system is weaker.

If you’re taking safe medications and don’t get better in a couple of days, that’s a good time to reach out to your physician.

However, If you experience a fever at any point during pregnancy, you should take Tylenol right away and call your healthcare provider. Fevers can be harmful to an unborn child and increase the risk of birth defects. Try not to panic, but do take steps to reduce your fever and follow instructions from your doctor.

RELATED: Can I use Vicks while breastfeeding?


Husband comforts wife who's sick during pregnancy and blows her nose with tissue.
Can I rub Vicks on my back while pregnant?

Vicks can be rubbed on the back, throat, or chest and is considered safe during pregnancy (provided you follow all product instructions). Vicks is not safe when ingested.

How do you get rid of a cold when pregnant?

Try Natural remedies first like:
– Drinking plenty of fluids
– Getting lots of rest
– Trying hot teas like honey and ginger or brothy soups for congestion and throat irritation
– Using a cold compress for aches and pains
– Trying saline drops, nasal strips, and steam to help clear sinuses

If you don’t get relief, try pregnancy-safe medications like
– Vicks Vaporub
– Tylenol
– Sudafed
– Robitussin

Follow dosage instructions and consult your doctor as needed, especially in the first trimester.

Can Vicks hurt an infant?

Vicks Vaporub should not be applied to children under the age of 2 and is not safe for infants. Children are much more likely to ingest the rub which can become toxic in large amounts.

The Bottom Line

Pregnant woman coughs into napkin on the couch while huddled under blanket.

There are several Vicks products on the market and only some are safe for pregnant women. Stick to the Vaporub, the Vicks Inhaler and First Defense Nasal Spray. Consult your doctor about other Vicks products and avoid those with known harmful ingredients.

Vicks rub is safe during pregnancy when applied according to instructions and is not ingested.

Want More?

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Your Turn

Did I answer all your questions about whether Vicks is safe during pregnancy? Let me know in the comments and let me know how far along you are in your pregnancy too!

Pinterest graphic with text and tub of Vicks Vaporub with woman sick during pregnancy.