Can You Take Azo While Pregnant?

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Heidi Woodgate

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be a common concern during pregnancy, leading many to wonder about safe relief options.

This article delves into the safety and efficacy of Azo, a popular over-the-counter remedy for UTI symptoms, especially taking Azo while pregnant.

can you take azo while pregnant?
Can You Take Azo While Pregnant?

The Quick Answer

While many women have taken Azo while pregnany without reported issues, it’s safety in pregnancy is unknown, so you should therefore consult with a doctor or pharmacist for personalized advice before using it.

The FDA classifies the primary ingredient in Azo, phenazopyridine hydrochloride, as a category B medication. This means that animal studies haven’t shown any harm to the fetus, but there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. 

What is Azo?

Azo is a brand name for over-the-counter products designed to alleviate symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The primary active ingredient in many Azo products is phenazopyridine hydrochloride, which serves as a urinary pain reliever.

It works by providing a soothing effect on the urinary tract, reducing discomfort, pain, and burning sensations often associated with UTIs.

While Azo is effective in relieving UTI symptoms, it’s essential to note that it doesn’t treat the infection itself. Antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional may be necessary to clear the infection. Azo merely offers temporary relief from the symptoms until the antibiotics can treat the root cause.

In addition to products containing phenazopyridine hydrochloride, Azo also offers other products like Azo Cranberry, designed to promote urinary tract health.

These products contain natural cranberry powder, which has been traditionally used to prevent UTIs by inhibiting the adhesion of bacteria to the walls of the bladder.

Safety of Azo While Pregnant

The safety of medications during pregnancy is a primary concern for expectant mothers. When it comes to Azo, understanding its safety profile is crucial.

FDA Guidelines

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies drugs into various categories based on their safety during pregnancy. The primary ingredient in Azo, phenazopyridine hydrochloride, is categorized as a Class B drug.

This classification means that animal reproduction studies have not demonstrated a risk to the fetus, but there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. 

Therefore, while animal studies suggest it might be safe, the absence of human studies means that the potential risk remains unknown. It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any medication during pregnancy.

Experiences from Pregnant Women

Anecdotal evidence from community forums and discussions suggests that some pregnant women have taken Azo without experiencing adverse effects.

However, personal experiences can vary, and what might be safe for one individual might not be for another. It’s essential to approach such anecdotal evidence with caution and rely on medical advice.

Some women have reported relief from UTI symptoms using Azo during pregnancy, but always with the guidance and approval of their healthcare provider.

Potential Side Effects of Azo

While many people tolerate Azo without issues, it’s essential to be aware of possible reactions, especially during pregnancy.

Like all medications, Azo can come with potential side effects.[1]

Common side effects associated with Azo include:

  • Stomach upset: Some individuals might experience stomach discomfort or pain after taking Azo
  • Headache: A mild headache can sometimes occur after consuming the medication.
  • Dizziness: A few users have reported feeling dizzy after taking Azo.
  • Orange or reddish urine: Azo can change the color of urine, making it appear orange or reddish. This change is expected and is not a cause for concern

Rare but more severe side effects include:

  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice): This could indicate a problem with the liver and requires immediate medical attention
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in the chest: These symptoms could be signs of a severe allergic reaction.
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue: Another indication of a potential allergic reaction.

If any of these severe side effects occur, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. During pregnancy, any new or unusual symptoms should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby.

It’s also worth noting that while Azo can provide relief from UTI symptoms, it does not treat the infection itself. If you suspect a UTI, especially during pregnancy, it’s essential to consult a doctor for appropriate treatment.

Precautions Before Taking Azo

Before deciding to take Azo, especially during pregnancy, there are several precautions to consider:

Consultation with a Healthcare Professional:

Guidelines suggest you should consult with a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication during pregnancy.

They can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation and health history.

Azo is no exception, and you should not take it unless recommended by your healthcare provider.


If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Azo or any of its ingredients in the past, it’s crucial to avoid taking it again.

Signs of an allergic reaction include itching, rash, swelling, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing.

Existing Medical Conditions

If you have liver problems, kidney disease, or a history of blood disorders, it’s essential to discuss with a doctor before taking Azo.

Duration of Use

Azo is meant for short-term use. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical advice. Prolonged use without medical supervision can lead to complications, as Azo only deals with the symptoms, not the underlying infection.

Dietary Considerations

While taking Azo, it’s advisable to drink plenty of fluids to help flush the urinary system. Avoid alcohol as it can intensify side effects.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

As discussed, the safety of Azo during pregnancy is not conclusively established.

If breastfeeding, it’s also essential to consult a healthcare provider as it’s unclear if Azo passes into breast milk.

Is It Safe to Use Icy Hot While Pregnant?

When it comes to using icy hot during pregnancy, it is important to exercise caution. While some pregnant women opt for topical pain relief, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional first. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation to ensure the safety and well-being of you and your baby.

Alternative Remedies for UTIs During Pregnancy

While Azo can provide relief from UTI symptoms, there are alternative remedies and treatments that pregnant women might consider, especially if they’re concerned about potential side effects or drug interactions.

Cranberry Juice and Supplements

Cranberries contain compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract, reducing the risk of infections. Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice can be a natural way to prevent UTIs, and cranberry is generally considered safe in moderation.[*]

Increased Fluid Intake

Drinking plenty of water can help flush out bacteria from the urinary system, reducing the risk of infection and alleviating symptoms. [*]


These beneficial bacteria can help maintain a healthy balance in the urinary tract, preventing harmful bacteria from causing infections. Probiotic supplements or foods like yogurt can be incorporated into the diet. [*]

Avoiding Irritants

Some products, like certain soaps or bubble baths, can irritate the urethra and increase the risk of UTIs. Opt for mild, unscented products to reduce this risk.

Vitamin C

Increasing vitamin C intake can make the urine more acidic, creating an environment where bacteria find it harder to thrive.

Wiping from Front to Back

This simple hygiene practice can prevent bacteria from the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.

Emptying the Bladder Regularly

Frequent urination can help flush out bacteria, reducing the risk of infection.

Wearing Breathable Underwear

Cotton underwear and avoiding tight-fitting pants can help keep the area dry, reducing the risk of bacterial growth.

It’s essential to note that while these remedies can help prevent or alleviate UTI symptoms, they might not be sufficient to treat an existing infection. If you suspect a UTI, especially during pregnancy, it’s crucial to consult a doctor for appropriate treatment.


Navigating the challenges of pregnancy often means making informed decisions about medications and treatments.

While Azo can provide temporary relief from UTI symptoms, it’s not a cure for the infection itself. Antibiotics, prescribed by a doctor, may be necessary to treat the root cause.

Additionally, there are alternative remedies, such as cranberry juice, increased fluid intake, and probiotics, which can offer relief and prevention without the potential side effects of medication.

The primary ingredient in Azo, phenazopyridine hydrochloride, has not been extensively studied in pregnant women, making it crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before its use.

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