Is it safe to use a popular pain medication while pregnant?
It has been widely accepted for many years that medicines containing acetaminophen, such as the pain killer Tylenol, are completely safe to use while pregnant. Acetaminophen may be found in hundreds of over-the-counter medications, including several popular cold, cough, and flu medications. Not surprisingly, over 65 percent of pregnant women in the United States report using it to alleviate a headache or to soothe an aching back throughout their pregnancy.
However, a group of physicians and scientists recently published a consensus statement in the journal Nature Reviews Endocrinology, advocating more care when it comes to acetaminophen usage during pregnancy and labor. According to the researchers, there is increasing evidence that it has the ability to interfere with embryonic development, with long-term impacts on the brain, reproductive, and urinary systems, as well as genital development.
In addition, although the problem they highlight is relevant, it’s worth mentioning that the issues stem from research conducted on animals and in humans who participated in observational studies. It is impossible to conclude from these sorts of research that acetaminophen is the true cause of any of these disorders.
Is it Safe to Take Ibuprofen While Pregnant?
Ibuprofen is not a safe pain reliever during pregnancy, according to the FDA.
When used during pregnancy, particularly during the second and third trimesters, ibuprofen may have an adverse effect on the development of the baby’s kidneys, as well as a decrease in the quantity of amniotic fluid that surrounds and cushions the baby. It is possible that this will interfere with the development of the baby’s lungs and respiratory system.
Because ibuprofen has the potential to cause premature closure of the patent ductus arteriosus, an important part of the fetal heart and circulation, it is especially important to avoid taking ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications during pregnancy, especially during the last trimester (NSAIDs).
Additionally, ibuprofen has been demonstrated in several studies to be related with low birth weight and asthma in infants as young as 18 months of age (Nezvalova-Henriksen et al., 2013). The relationship between Ibuprofen usage and these major adverse effects was considerably larger later in pregnancy (second or third trimester) than it was earlier in pregnancy.
Don’t be fooled by the names of the products.
The following pain relievers are essentially Ibuprofen that has been branded under a new name, and they should be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding:
Advil Motrin IBU
During pregnancy, what kind of pain relievers are safe to take?
The exercise recommendations presented in this article are typically based on the assumption of a relatively healthy woman who weighs an average amount. A person who is overweight or obese will have different guidelines than a normal-weight individual. This must be taken into mind prior to beginning or continuing physical exercise when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Acetaminophen is a safe medication to use to treat discomfort when pregnant.
If you’ve heard something different, it’s possible that it’s because a number of studies have set out to explore the association between acetaminophen and birth malformations as well as potential behavioral difficulties in childhood. For example, in one study, researchers investigated the effects of acetaminophen and whether or not it was associated with conditions such as spina bifida and cleft palate, as well as heart and eye abnormalities. According to the findings of the research, there was no relationship between these particular anomalies and any other abnormalities in 26,424 children whose mothers used acetaminophen (Rebordosa et al., 2008).
Prescription Pain Medication During Pregnancy is not recommended.
In certain cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medicines during pregnancy, such as opioid drugs, to help you cope with the discomfort. Examples of opioid drugs include Tylenol with codeine, oxycodone, and hydromorphone, to name a few. In general, these drugs would only be provided for you if your doctor believes that the advantages exceed any dangers to your pregnancy, such as in the case of pain treatment after surgery.
There is some worry about long-term (more than one month) opioid usage during pregnancy resulting in newborn withdrawal syndrome, although this is very rare if these drugs are taken as directed by your doctor and are not abused.
The dangers of short-term opiate usage during pregnancy are less well understood. Some scattered and small studies show that there may be an increased risk of neural tube abnormalities (spina bifida), although these research are primarily animal-based and of low quality, and the evidence is conflicting. Current recommendations from the FDA caution against interpreting any of these studies as illustrative of an actual risk connection. This is an area where more study needs to be done.
Finally, I’d want to say
Pregnant women should avoid using ibuprofen for pain treatment, particularly during the second and third trimesters. Acetaminophen should be used instead of aspirin. Acetaminophen is a reasonable substitute for Ibuprofen and even diclofenac when it comes to relieving pregnancy-related aches and pains.