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Can you take NyQuil while pregnant?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Feb 6, 2024.

Official answer


If you are pregnant, check with your healthcare provider before you take any NyQuil product to make sure it’s safe. There are many different NyQuil products on the market, and some may contain alcohol, phenylephrine or other ingredients that may be harmful to you or your baby.

Other ingredients commonly found in NyQuil products include acetaminophen (for pain, headache and body aches), doxylamine (a sedating antihistamine) and dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant). Ask your doctor about use of these ingredients, too.

NyQuil products are a brand of over-the-counter (OTC) medicine used to treat nighttime symptoms of the common cold and flu. These symptoms might include: sneezing, sore throat, headache, minor aches and pains, fever, runny nose, and cough. NyQuil products come in oral liquids, oral LiquiCaps, and as oral caplets.

Examples of Vicks NyQuil products include:

You may also find separate Vick's DayQuil and NyQuil products co-packaged for sale.

Learn more: Compare NyQuil Products

There are two ingredients found in many NyQuil products that should not be used in pregnancy: phenylephrine and alcohol (also called ethanol). Most, but not all, NyQuil products contain phenylephrine and / or alcohol. Ask your doctor before using any product that contains alcohol or phenylephrine if you are pregnant.

Phenylephrine is a nasal decongestant used to help relieve a stuffy nose and sinus pressure.

  • Phenylephrine, as a decongestant, can lead to the constriction of blood vessels. There are concerns decongestants like phenylephrine may reduce blood flow through the placenta (which supplies food and blood to the baby) or cause a small chance for birth defects. There may be a greater chance for birth defects early in pregnancy.
  • Phenylephrine may also increase blood pressure in the mother.

Alcohol is an inactive ingredient used in NyQuil to help dissolve the medicines into the liquid. Although alcohol is an inactive ingredient in NyQuil, it may still be dangerous in pregnancy.

  • There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed at any time during pregnancy.
  • Alcohol is known to easily cross the placenta and reach a developing baby. Its use has been shown to cause birth defects and developmental disorders in the fetus, and a higher risk for pregnancy loss.

Over-the-counter (OTC) products often change names, packaging or ingredients so be sure to read the full label each time you buy something from the pharmacy shelf.

In addition, NyQuil products often contain multiple ingredients which you may not need. For example, if you only have a cough, you do not need to take a product that also contains a pain reliever and an antihistamine. Taking only the medicine specific for your symptom helps to avoid exposing the baby to other medicines that may not be needed.

Check the Drug Facts label on the OTC product and ask your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendation. Your doctor may also recommend a safer, non-drug treatment you can use to relieve your symptoms during pregnancy.

This is not all the information you need to know about Vicks NyQuil products for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full NyQuil Drug Facts label and discuss the use of any over-the-counter product with your doctor or other health care provider.


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