vicks in pregnancy

Is Vicks Safe During Pregnancy

It is very common for a pregnant woman to experience recurring cold or dealing through seasonal allergies. This happens due to reduction in immunity levels in women during this time. In such a case, a majority of women reaches out to easily accessible general medicines to treat this condition. One of the most widely used medicine in this regard is Vicks. In this article, we will look into the safety of different types of Vicks products during pregnancy.

Is it safe to use Vicks during pregnancy?

A lot of over-the-counter, and standard prescription allergy and cold medicines when consumed are harmful to your pregnancy. This is because most of them passes the placenta, and makes their way to the baby. This can pose safety concerns to your baby.

Luckily, the active ingredients present in Vicks is not just safe but also effective when used in the right way (right amounts and for the right period). Vicks comes in several different types to combat cough, runny nose, stuffy nose, cold etc.

What are the active and inactive ingredients in Vicks?

The ingredients present in Vicks products actually defines its safety during pregnancy. Some of the active ingredients in Vicks include camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus oil. The vapors obtained from them are powerful in clearing nasal passages, drying a runny nose, soothe muscle aches, and ease cough and chest congestion.

Some of the inactive ingredients present in Vicks are nutmeg oil, cedar leaf oil, turpentine oil, thymol, and petrolatum. All of them when consumed in small effective dosage cause no danger to you as well as your baby.

What type of ingredients are a red flag in pregnancy?

Ingredients is what you should look for when choosing a Vicks product. As different Vicks products can have different ingredients and composition, you should check the ingredients thoroughly before you use it. A few major ingredients to watch out for is “phenylephrine hydrochloride” as it can lead to reduced blood circulation.

Phenylephrine hydrochloride is not advised for people who have a past history of “pre-eclampsia”. This is because of the vasoconstrictive properties of the product that can lower placental perfusion or flow of blood in the chest. So, people who are currently suffering from pre-eclampsia or have had before should avoid Vicks product with this ingredient at all costs.

You should avoid any Vicks product that contains ephedrine.

Safe Uses of Vicks

  • Vicks VapoRub is one of the safest products in the wide range of Vicks products to calm your cough and sore throat, and ease any congestion in lungs. Use a gentle rub or mix a few drops of it in hot water and inhale its steam. It is effective to relieve from chest congestion. Eucalyptus and Menthol contained in it are acceptable in pregnancy.All you can do is to apply it lightly throughout the back and chest. Place a dry and a warm cloth over the region to prevent its active ingredients to get evaporated quickly. While you are applying it on your body, ensure that you wear only loose clothes. This will let you breathe easily and enable its vapors to pass through your nose, throat, neck and chest easily.
  • Besides applying on the body, you can even put a little on your handkerchief and inhale it. To prevent any contamination, always ensure you use a clean cloth or handkerchief to put the Vicks product and breathe it through the nose.
  • Another safe way to use Vicks is in the form of an inhaler. It has a shape of a lip balm stick. It contains camphor, pine needle oil, and menthol, that clears stuffiness in the nose. It is perfectly safe during pregnant. Inhaling it, will let the ingredients pass through your nose and keep your nasal passage moist and clear.
  • You can even add the Vicks ointment to your hot water and inhale the vapors to get the best relief from cold.
  • Another safe way to use Vicks is to use it in the spray form. You can easily get Vicks “First Defense nasal spray” in the market. This product is devoid of any active medical ingredients. Here, a microgel is used to trap cold virus particles. These particles are then stopped to enter into the system. This makes it safe to use during pregnancy.

Which Vicks products are not safe during pregnancy?

  • Vicks “Sinex decongestant” capsules are not advised in pregnancy as it each capsule contains 12.18mg phenylephrine hydrochloride that can pose serious health concerns in pregnancy.
  • Vicks “Sinex nasal spray” should be used with caution during pregnancy. You must check with your GP before you use it in your pregnancy.

Also read: Is It Safe To Take Penicillin During Pregnancy?


Sometimes, it can get hard to deal with cold, seasonal allergies, sore throat and other similar situations due to the discomfort it causes during pregnancy. Not all Vicks products are safe during pregnancy. Different Vicks products comes with specific guidelines for usage during pregnancy. It is important that you understand usage directions properly, before you use it.

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