I Accidentally Took Sudafed PE While Pregnant (3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take Sudafed PE)

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Sudafed PE contains phenylephrine that acts to narrow blood vessels. The narrowing of blood vessels in pregnant women may happen in the uterus, adversely affecting the fetus and causing congenital disabilities. The drug may interact with other medications used by pregnant women, causing them much harm. Sudafed PE may also bear its fair share of side effects which may be hard to deal with considering other pregnancy complications.

What do you know about pregnancy and medications? You probably know pregnant women don’t use over-the-counter medication.

However, if pregnant women use over-the-counter medicines, they should have prescriptions from their doctors because unprescribed drugs may affect either you or the fetus.

Sudafed PE is a class of medicines containing phenylephrine, a drug used to treat signs of flu, common cold, sinusitis, and some allergies, especially to cold and dusty environments.

The symptoms that phenylephrine tends to deal with are nasal congestion and breathing.  

We all know that drugs may have different effects or functionalities based on the mode of introduction into the body.

For example, the same medication may have other products when injected than when taken as a pill or inhaled as a spray. The same applies to phenylephrine in Sudafed PE.

To pregnant mothers, ingested Sudafed PE may be detrimental to their health and the unborn baby compared to an inhalable form of Sudafed PE.

Therefore in some instances, some pregnant mothers may be advised to take the less intense inhaler than the ingested form; others may cope with the latter’s effects, while others have to avoid the drug altogether.

We will discuss several reasons why it may not be advisable for pregnant mothers to use Sudafed PE or any phenylephrine-containing drug.

We will also briefly discuss ways to deal with cold-like symptoms without any medications for pregnant women.

Reasons why you should not take Sudafed PE while pregnant

A young pregnant woman is feeling cold-like symptoms and a headache

1. Possibility of causing congenital disabilities

Cold-like symptoms may make your nasal passage extremely congested.

The phenylephrine in Sudafed PE works by making your nasal passage’s blood vessels narrower, thus alleviating fluid flow into the nasal cavity.

Eventually, that reduces the conditions to allow for normal breathing.

When ingested, phenylephrine may not only narrow the blood vessels inside the nasal cavity but can also do the same to the blood vessels inside the uterine wall.

That may reduce the amount of blood flowing into the uterus. Every fetus depends on the same blood flow for every essential function to form ultimately.

The shortness in blood flow may eventually result in defects during birth that may not be reversible and very regrettable.

Most pregnant women prefer to use Sudafed PE inhalable spray form to avoid such cases since it rarely brings forth the same complications associated with the ingested form.

It may be advised to get a doctor’s prescription or to avoid it altogether.

2. Interaction with other drugs

In most cases, pregnant women may be subjected to various medications.

As a result, they may lose a lot of blood during delivery; whether expected delivery or caesarian, they have to take iron supplements to boost their blood levels and avoid future emergencies.

Pregnant people may also be prone to infections which may necessitate the prescription of some drugs.

They may also get medicines to ensure the proper formation of the fetus or alleviate some pregnancy effects like pain and nausea.

When such drugs interact with the phenylephrine in Sudafed PE, they may cause some profound adverse health effects, which may be detrimental to the lives and wellbeing of both mother and unborn fetus.

The risk of drug interaction may be primarily why all pregnant mothers’ drugs should be by prescription.

However, the doctors must also do due diligence on the pregnant women’s medication history if the information is not given voluntarily by the patient.

3. Side effects of phenylephrine

The phenylephrine in Sudafed PE may have several listed side effects.

Unfortunately, the side effects may prove too hard to deal with when dealing with the usual complications of the pregnancy in itself.

Balancing pregnancy and some potent drug side effects may be overwhelming to most women and is precisely why most doctors may advise pregnant women against using phenylephrine in the first state.

Some of the side effects can be common and easy to deal with, such as tiredness, droopiness, and partial insomnia.

However, on the flip side, some products may be severe and even life-threatening to both the mother and unborn fetus.

Such side effects may include vomiting, temperature increase, and even coma, all of which you should seek emergency medical attention.

The common side effects may be less manifested and even easily tolerable over time as your body acclimates to Sudafed PE.

Simple ways to go around cold-like symptoms without medications

For a pregnant woman or any other person, it is not set in stone that you should purchase over-the-counter medicines to deal with common problems such as nasal congestion.

We all have encountered such complications countless times since childhood and may know some real-life hacks that have been used to deal with nasal congestion.

Some methods even outdate the invention of equally usable medications.

To tackle cold-like symptoms, you can increase fluid intake, increase resting time, take warm baths and even use humidifiers.

Reasons to avoid Sudafed PE when pregnant

  1. Possibility of causing congenital disabilities
  2. Drug interactions with other drugs
  3. Side effects of phenylephrine

Tips to fix cold-like symptoms without taking Sudafed

A young pregnant woman is drinking plenty of water to naturally help reduce her cold-like symptoms
  1. Increase fluid intake
  2. Increase your resting time
  3. Use warm baths and home humidifiers


Which Sudafed is safe while pregnant?

Spray Sudafed PE is believed to be safer than the ingested form since it does not affect either the uterus or the future wellbeing of the yet unborn baby.


Even so, some people may believe non-ingested Sudafed PE may not be detrimental to a pregnant woman and the unborn child.

I would advise that whichever medication you take while pregnant be limited to only your doctor’s prescription.

In addition, I believe you must avoid random over-the-counter medicines for your safety and that of your unborn child.

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Nudrat Naheed
Hi, I am Nudrat, The Heart And Brain author, IR student, and painter. Writing about health fascinates me because it helps me to explore a new healthy routine and share it with others. I write primarily about general health, pregnancy, postpartum, and allergies here. If you don't find me writing, I'm busy painting or reading on global politics.

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