What you need to know about taking Codeine while pregnant

Can you take Codeine while pregnant?

Codeine is a type of medication primarily used to treat mild to moderate pain and chronic coughing. The opioid is sometimes given to people that have irritable bowel syndrome as well. Codeine is classified as an opioid, and due to its narcotic effects, it is also a controlled substance.

While there are certain medications one should avoid during pregnancy, codeine is generally safe. However, depending on the dosage, what trimester the mother is in and if codeine misuse is present or not, taking codeine while pregnant may pose some threats to the fetus.

So, can a pregnant woman take codeine? Let’s discuss some of the possible effects of codeine on the fetus.

What you need to know about taking Codeine while pregnant

Taking codeine, or Tylenol with codeine, while pregnant has a small chance of causing birth defects. As mentioned previously, the amount of codeine, as well as other factors, may increase the risk of certain birth defects. Studies show that high codeine use during the first trimester may increase the risk for heart defects and slightly increases the chances of cleft lip or palate and spina bifida.

If a mother is struggling with codeine addiction while pregnant and takes a high dosage often during the first trimester, the risk for heart defects significantly increases. Therefore, it is important to monitor how much codeine is taken, especially during the first 12 weeks when the fetus is developing.

The Recovery Village offers treatment plans that are safe for expectant mothers as well as counseling that teaches people how to cope with stresses that may spark recurring use.

It is possible for a baby to have neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which occurs if the mother has a substance use disorder during pregnancy. NAS results from the effects codeine has on the fetus when it bypasses the placenta.

If a person takes codeine during the last few weeks or months of their pregnancy, the baby can have withdrawal symptoms at birth and will likely be closely monitored during the first few days after birth.

While is it mostly safe to take pain medications like codeine while pregnant, it is best to speak with a doctor beforehand. Codeine can have negative effects on the fetus depending on the trimester.

Many doctors may lower the dosage of prescription painkillers or offer safer alternatives like low doses of Tylenol. They may even recommend at-home remedies for pain relief (e.g., compresses for headaches).

Taking codeine while pregnant is often safe, but if you or your loved one are pregnant and you fear you might have a substance use disorder, seeking medical attention early on can make a difference on the baby’s health and yours.

The Recovery Village has a professional staff that does not judge or treat any patients differently, despite their conditions. To find a location near you, visit our website at www.TheRecoveryVillage.com or call our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 855-548-9825.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.