NyQuil During Pregnancy – Safety, Dosage And Side Effects

5 min read

Written by Gunjan Bedi

Gunjan Bedi

Nyquil During Pregnancy_ Safety, Dosage And Side Effects

Typical flu symptoms can wake you up the whole night and result in restlessness. NyQuil is one of the common over-the-counter medications prescribed by doctors to get relief from cold and flu symptoms. But does it work similarly for pregnant women? Or is it safe to take NyQuil during pregnancy to get relief from cold symptoms? 

Well, the answer may be yes or no! NyQuil’s formulation has been designed with a combination of different molecules. The drug formulation without alcohol is safe for pregnant women to get some short-term relief from common flu and cold symptoms such as cough, headache, sore throat, minor ache, nasal congestion, and body pain. NyQuil comes in three different types, namely, NyQuil Cold & Flu, NyQuil Severe Cold & Flu, and NyQuil Cough. These drugs have been designed using different formulations, which may or may not be harmful to women during pregnancy. Let’s take a deep dive to learn about these drugs in detail and their possible side effects.

In This Article

What is NyQuil?

NyQuil is generally a form of over-the-counter medication used for the treatment of cold and flu symptoms such as body aches, coughs, congestion, body aches, and headaches. According to the experts, the standard formulation consists of the following main ingredients:

  • Acetaminophen (helps relieve fever and pain)
  • Dextromethorphan (acts as a cough suppressant)
  • Doxylamine (acts as an antihistamine)

This drug formulation helps to relieve the symptoms of the common flu and cold [1]. For instance, the doxylamine present in the NyQuil provides sedation, enabling patients to fall asleep at night so the cold symptoms do not bother them. However, the medicine may not be available to provide some relief to pregnant women or those who catch the flu.

Is It Safe To Take NyQuil During Pregnancy?

Is It Safe To Take Nyquil During Pregnancy_

The Nyquil formulation may or may not be safe for women during pregnancy. The medicine may help to get short-term relief from flu symptoms such as sore throat, cough, headache, minor aches, fever, nasal congestion, and pain. However, you should avoid consuming NyQuil if the formulation contains alcohol and phenylephrine. Be sure to consult with your doctor before consuming any medication.

NyQuil and Its Ingredients

NyQuil drug formulation contains different forms of effects during pregnancy depending on their key ingredients. In this context, let’s take you on a deep dive into the key ingredients and side effects of pregnancy. 

1. Acetaminophen: Common Side Effects on Pregnancy

It is most commonly used to treat flu symptoms during all stages of pregnancy. Short-term use  of Acetaminophen is generally recommended to treat common flu symptoms [2]  However, take care not to use paracetamol continuously or in extremely high dosages. This kind of use might injure your liver or have other negative consequences for you and your unborn child.

Common Side Effects

Some of the common side effects associated with acetaminophen include:

  • Red, peeling, and blistering skin
  • Liver damage
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, hands, eyes, lower legs and feet.
  • Trouble breathing and swallowing.

2. Dextromethorphan: Effects on Pregnancy

There are no significant risks associated with dextromethorphan during any trimester of pregnancy [3]. This is considered safe to get relief from flu symptoms during pregnancy. 

Common Side Effects

Some of the common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain

3. Doxylamine: Effects on Pregnancy

Several types of research show that doxylamine is safe to consume during all trimesters of pregnancy, including the first trimester [4]. Moreover, doxylamine is also used in combination with pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) to provide relief from nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. 

Common Side Effects

Some of the common side effects associated with doxylamine during pregnancy include:

  • Dry mouth, nose, and throat
  • Drowsiness
  • Excitement
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Increased chest congestion
  • Nervousness

Some other serious side effects of consuming Doxylamine include blurry vision and trouble urinating. 

4. Phenylephrine: Effects on Pregnancy

Birth abnormalities are among the negative consequences that phenylephrine can have. Phenylephrine may pose the most significant risk to a pregnancy in the first trimester. However, you shouldn’t use this medication in the first trimester of pregnancy. Giving phenylephrine alone by infusion at cesarean delivery was associated with a lower incidence of fetal acidosis and maternal nausea and vomiting than giving ephedrine alone [5].

Common Side Effects

Some of the common side effects associated with phenylephrine are as follows:

  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness 
  • Sleeplessness

One more serious side effect of consuming phenylephrine is high blood pressure. Therefore, if you have high blood pressure, try to avoid consuming phenylephrine unless your doctor prescribes it. 

5. Alcohol: Effects during Pregnancy

Alcohol is present in a lot of liquid over-the-counter medications, including Nyquil. Before taking any prescription that involves alcohol, you should see your doctor. Merely the trace quantity of alcohol included in cold and flu remedies increases the possibility of adverse consequences during pregnancy.

Among these impacts are:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Physical disabilities
  • Developmental disabilities

Are There Any Side Effects of Nyquil During Pregnancy?

Are There Any Side Effects of Nyquil during Pregnancy

Liquid NyQuil contains 10% alcohol and phenylephrine, which is considered harmful for pregnant women. It can put your fetus at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. Moreover, it may also restrict the flow of blood into the placenta, which is the main passage for transferring food and oxygen to the growing fetus. Some researchers also show that regular consumption of these drugs may result in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or similar behavior in kids (3). 

What Are The Alternatives To NyQuil?

Some of the alternatives of NyQuil for pregnant women are listed below. However, we have just covered a few of the alternatives based on research. Please avoid consuming medicine unless your doctor advises you. Without consultation, consuming drugs can harm you and your fetus.

  • Coricidin HBP
  • Benadryl Allergy
  • DayQuil
  • Guaifenesin
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Mucinex
  • NyQuil
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine

In a nutshell, pregnancy is a very delicate phase for the women. Everything a mother eats directly impacts the growth of the baby inside the womb. It is advisable to avoid medication during pregnancy for normal flu. However, if your symptoms don’t go away after one or two days, consult with your doctor before consuming any form of medication. 


1. How Much Alcohol is Present in Nyquil?

NyQuil Cold and Flu contains around 10% alcohol. It is generally present in the medicine to dissolve the active ingredients.

2. Does NyQuil Make You Sleep?

It is an over-the-counter medication that may cause sleepiness. NyQuil has been formulated to treat common flu and cold symptoms. Moreover, it is also helpful to alleviate the fever, cough, and stuffy nose.


  1. Treating the common cold during pregnancy
  2. A review of the literature on the effects of acetaminophen on pregnancy outcome
  3. The Safety of Dextromethorphan in Pregnancy: Results of a Controlled Study
  4. Re-analysis of Safety Data Supporting Doxylamine Use for Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy
  5. Fetal and Maternal Effects of Phenylephrine and Ephedrine during Spinal Anesthesia for Cesarean Delivery
Gunjan Bedi,B.Sc (Biotechnology), M.Sc (Microbiology)

Gunjan Bedi an inspirational writer and story teller. My background in medical science make me a perfect content writer in parenting and medical content writing niche. My content has touched millions of readers within three years. Since past three years I have worked with several clients in different niche and provide easy to read content that readers love the most.Read more.

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