In the headlines this week was breaking news that many women are taking painkillers during pregnancy that significantly increase their risk for miscarriage and other complications – despite the warnings on the labels. It is important for all pregnant women to understand the risks associated with painkillers and what medications are appropriate and safe while pregnant.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) – NOT Safe
Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, Celebrex
NSAIDs are a class of medications which are typically taken for musculo-skeletal pain such as a backache, headache, or muscle soreness. These mediacatons work by decreasing the amount of prosteglandins (chemicals which promote pain and inflammation) in the body. However, if taken during during pregnancy the prostaglandins located in the uterus can be affected – leading to a miscarriage.
According to a Canadian study of over 52,000 women those who used NSAIDs while pregnant were more than twice as likely to suffer a miscarriage.
Aspirin – NOT Safe
As a general rule, aspirin is not considered safe during pregnancy for pain relief. Like NSAIDS. Aspirin can interfere with normal prostaglandin production and lead to a miscarriage. However, in some cases such as women who suffer from repeat miscarriages or blood clotting disorders aspirin may be a recommended course of therapy.
Acetaminophen – SAFE
For women suffering from minor aches and pains during pregnancy, an occasional use of acetaminophen is considered safe both for mom and baby.