Use of over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies in pregnancy

Am J Perinatol. 2005 Aug;22(6):321-4. doi: 10.1055/s-2005-873235.


The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and herbal remedies used by pregnant women. A prospective observational study was performed at a single tertiary-care hospital. Postpartum women completed a questionnaire that included a list of more than 120 medications, herbal remedies, and alternative therapies listed by both brand and common name. Patients were asked to identify any and all medications or treatments used during pregnancy. Of 418 patients who completed questionnaires, 96.9% took at least one medication during their pregnancy. After excluding prenatal vitamins and iron supplements, 76.5% took at least one other medication; 62.8% used OTC medications, and 4.1% used herbal and/or alternative remedies. Multiple drug use occurred in 33.5% of patients, with up to 13.6% consuming four or more medications. The use of prescribed and OTC, medications, and herbal/alternative therapy, is common in pregnancy, with many patients consuming more than one agent at a time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Nonprescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Nonprescription Drugs
  • Plant Preparations
  • Vitamins