Can Pregnant Women Take Zicam?

Zicam is a medicine most people grab without needing a prescription, and it’s often the go-to choice when they’re dealing with a pesky cold and that annoying stuffy nose.

You’ll find it in various forms like drops you can take by mouth, a spray for your nose, or good ol’ swallowable tablets.

The active ingredient in most zicam products is zinc gluconate and zinc acetate.

Zinc is an essential mineral the body requires for various functions, and it is generally considered safe for pregnant women when they take within the recommended daily allowance.

However the safety of specific zinc formulations and dosages such as those found in zicam products are not well-studied in pregnant women.

We would not advice that you take in zicam during pregnancy. The FDA categorizes this medicine as a category C drug which implies that risks have been identified in animal studies and just not tested out on humans yet.

And even more, there was a clinical study conducted on pregnant rats recently, and it suggested harmful effects on fetal development when zicam was used during pregnancy.’

Pregnant moms need to be careful when taking any medicine at this time. It’s always advised that they consult their doctors first before using any medication including zicam.

Doctors can provide a thorough guidelines on whether the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks and recommend safer alternatives if necessary.

What can I take for cold while pregnant?

It is always paramount to discuss the symptoms you’re feeling with your doctor before going to get an over the counter medicine because they can provide the best remedies upon your individual health circumstance.

However, here are some general guidelines for managing cold during pregnancy;

  • Staying hydrated: drink plenty of fluids like water, electrolyte water, pregnancy-safe herbal teas and clear broths to keep your body hydrated and thin mucus secretions.
  • Getting plenty of rest can help your body fight off the cold more effectively and promote healing.
  • Saline drops or sprays can also help to relieve nasal congestion and soothe a sore throat.
  • Humidifier in your bedroom can  keep the air moist and ease nasal congestion.
  • Ginger and honey tea can also provide the soothe you  need, relieving you from the cold symptoms. Make sure to use pasteurized honeyto reduce any risk of bacterial contamination.
  • Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can help alleviate congestion and nasal stuffiness. Be cautious not to burn yourself and use it under supervision.
  • Warm saltwater gargle: Gargling with warm saltwater can help soothe a sore throat.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) tablet is generally safe to use for brief periods to combat fever and alleviate pain. Follow the dosing instructions and talk to your doctor if there’s a concern that bothers you.
  • Avoid certain medications by every means. It’s important to disregard non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and aspirin during pregnancy because they can be dangerous to the unborn baby.
  • If cold becomes severe, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. As mentioned earlier, he has the guide about which medications are safe for you based on your current health status.

Can you take zicam while trying to conceive?

Women who’re actively trying to become pregnant or are in their early stages of pregnancy, should also not take zicam products.

The reason behind this is that these products contain zinc which have have potential effects on fertility and early pregnancy in high amounts.

Though zinc is an essential mineral and plays a role in reproductive health, excess supplementation can interefere the absorption of other essential minerals like copper and iron which may have implications on women’s fertility and early pregnancy.

So if you’re trying to conceive, then you should stay away of all zinc inclusive products and supplementation, including zicam.

Don’t leave your doctor out of your decision to take any medication while pregnant. Their advises are equally   important at this time.

Additionally maintaining a balanced diet and healthier duet that incorporates variety of nutrients is important for both fertility and a healthy pregnancy.

So do well to eat balanced meals always when trying to conceive.

Can you take zicam while breastfeeding?

The safety of using zicam, or any medicine while breastfeeding actually depends on the particular product’s formulation and the ingredients.

Zinc is considered an essential nutrient and small amounts are good for the body to function well. Most breastfeeding moms can get sufficient amount of zinc through their diet without the need of supplementing it.

Taking large doses of zinc supplements or using zinc-containing medications like zicam can potentially increase your stores for it, which isn’t ideal while breastfeeding.

Excessive zinc intake can interfere with the absorption of other minerals and this may have adverse effect on your health and the baby.

So the best thing to do is use natural cold relieving remedies or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) tablet which is universally considered safe for most people. But you should talk with your doctor first.

Who should not take zicam?

Aside pregnant women, these group of people should not take or be extra cautious when planning to use zicam;

  1. Breastfeeding women: The safety of using zicam in breastfeeding is inconclusive. So it’s important to talk with your doctor before using it while lactating.
  2. Those with allergies: If you have once tried and noticed an allergic reaction to the product, then you need to reconsider other alternatives. Your doctor can guide you in this.
  3. Children under 12 years are not to take certain products of zicam. Always read the product label and follow the recommended age guidelines.
  4. If you have chronic sinus problems or a history of nasal surgery, you should exercise strict caution and consult a healthcare expert when you decide on using zicam.
  5. When you’re taking other medications you should also be careful because this drug may potentially interact with medications, supplements, and herbal products.


Pregnant women should approach over the counter medications like zicam with caution. While zinc which is a component in zicam products is important for health of moms, the safety of using them, specifically in pregnancies have not been clearly established..

That said, you should consider home and natural remedies to treat cold, or if you tried and the results aren’t impressive, go ahead and talk with your OB-GYN before you even plan to use any counter medicine.

On the other hand if you’re taking zicam to supplement zinc intake then you should stop immediately. Normalize obtaining most of your nutrients including zinc from balanced meals rather than supplementing.

Your health and safety plus your baby, should be prioritized the most at this time. And you should do this by seeking professional medical advise before using any medication.


Minerva Natural Health (Is Zicam Safe During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know), Women’s Integrated HealthCare (What Medicine Can I Take While Pregnant?- A list of Approved Medications For Pregnant Women) & Axia Women’s Health (Medications Use In Pregnancy)

Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.