Guaifenesin and Pregnancy
Women who are pregnant could take guaifenesin if the benefits outweigh the risks, but this is something that needs to be discussed with a healthcare provider. Informal surveys indicate that the drug poses little, if any, risk; in fact, some women take guaifenesin hoping it will help them conceive. The bottom line is that women should talk to a healthcare provider before taking any drug during pregnancy.
Guaifenesin (an active ingredient in Mucinex®, Robitussin®, and many other medications) is an expectorant often used for chest congestion and coughing. While it is often listed among preferred cough and cold medications for pregnant women, there may be some risks. Interestingly, guaifenesin is sometimes used to aid women who are trying to conceive.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
In addition, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a pregnancy Category C rating.
The few survey-type studies done to look at the safety of guaifenesin during pregnancy generally do not suggest an increased risk for problems due to guaifenesin use. One such study indicated that first-trimester use of the drug might slightly increase the risk of inguinal hernias, although other studies have not confirmed this finding.
Keep in mind that guaifenesin cough syrups may contain alcohol and, therefore, should be used in moderation during pregnancy. Guaifenesin is also frequently marketed in combination products that contain other medications that may or may not be safe for use during pregnancy.