Pregnancy: Normal or Not?

woman holding pregnant stomach, against a neutral background

Whether you’re experiencing your first pregnancy or your third, it is very normal to have plenty of questions as you navigate these nine months. No two pregnancies are exactly the same, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the different “rules” (like avoiding Nyquil, but not Benadryl).

To help address a few of the common questions, read on for some information about cramping, spotting, and the medicine do’s & don’ts:


It is perfectly normal to experience light cramps throughout a pregnancy. Early on, before you may even know that you’re pregnant, cramps are caused by the implantation of the egg in the uterine lining. Later on, they are associated with your uterus expanding and changing shape to accommodate the growing fetus—these cramps will come in the second and third trimesters. Additionally, because the uterus is a muscle, cramps may occur throughout any part of the pregnancy just because that’s how the muscle is responding to the work of holding the fetus.

The moment to call your doctor is when cramps occur at regular intervals and progressively get worse over time, when cramps feel severe in intensity, or when they are accompanied with vaginal bleeding, watery vaginal discharge, or pelvic pressure.


Similarly, women may note some light vaginal bleeding throughout their pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. This bleeding can, again, be associated with the implantation step, or can be caused by the number of blood vessels increasing in the tissue around the cervix during pregnancy, which may result in some small uterine bleeding.

As long as the bleeding is not enough to fill a pad or require a tampon, there should be no problem. If you need a liner or pad to prevent the blood from soaking into your clothes, or if bleeding is accompanied by cramping, that is the time to call your doctor.


As you know from many years of hearing commercials or seeing labels that say “do not take while pregnant or breastfeeding,” there are a number of medicines that soon-to-be moms should avoid. Rather than listing those many drugs, here are some suggestions for safe things to take depending on the discomfort you’re experiencing:

  • For allergies: diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratidine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • For colds: diphenhydramine (Benadryl), dextromethorphan (Robitussin), guaifenesin (Mucinex), acetaminophen (Tylenol), menthol (Vicks Vapor Rub, cough drops), pseudoephedrine only after first trimester (Sudafed), saline (nasal drops & spray)
    Note: For Benadryl, Robitussin, Mucinex, and Tylenol, do not use the “Sustained Action” (SA) or “Multi-Symptom” version.
  • For nausea or vomiting: diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Vitamin B6
  • For diarrhea: loperamide (Imodium) after first trimester, for 24 hours only
  • For constipation: methylcellulose fiber (Citrucel), docusate (Colace), psyllium, (Fiberall, Metamucil), polycarbophil (FiberCon)
  • For first aid: bacitracin, neomycin/polymyxin B (Neosporin)
  • For headache: acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • For heartburn: famotidine (Pepcid AC), aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide (Maalox), calcium carbonate/magnesium carbonate (Mylanta), calcium carbonate (Titralac, Tums), ranitidine (Zantac)
  • For hemorrhoids: phenylephrine/mineral oil/petrolatum (Preparation H), witch hazel (Tucks pads or ointment)
  • For rashes: diphenhydramine cream (Benadryl), hydrocortisone cream, oatmeal bath (Aveeno)

We know — it’s a lot to remember! When our pregnant patients come in for their first OB appointment, our medical team will provide you with a printout of all the major do’s and don’ts, so that you have them at your fingertips when questions arise. And when in doubt, give us a call at (681) 282-5591. 


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