What You Need To Know About Taking Ibuprofen While Pregnant
Is Ibuprofen Safe to Take While Pregnant?
Can you take ibuprofen while pregnant? Can you take Motrin while pregnant? Both are common questions during pregnancy. First, ibuprofen is a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory available over-the-counter. Ibuprofen is the generic, active ingredient in brand-name medications like Advil and Motrin. It’s typical that ibuprofen is used to treat a variety of different types of pain including headaches, cramps, aches, arthritis or dental pain. Ibuprofen can also reduce fevers. Ibuprofen is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory or an NSAID. When someone uses this medication, it blocks the production of certain chemicals and natural substances that cause inflammation.
Side effects are usually mild or nonexistent with the use of ibuprofen. Someone may experience dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, headache or constipation, but again, it’s not likely. Ibuprofen can rarely cause more serious side effects, however. These can include stomach bleeding, particularly if it’s used with alcohol. If someone takes ibuprofen with blood thinner medications, they can have serious side effects as well.
Can pregnant women take ibuprofen? The short answer is, no, you aren’t supposed to take ibuprofen or Motrin while pregnant. The same holds true for any medication that has ibuprofen as an active ingredient. It can be especially dangerous to use ibuprofen products like Motrin during the third trimester of pregnancy. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) shouldn’t be used during pregnancy according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This also includes aspirin and naproxen.
If ibuprofen is taken after the 30th week of pregnancy, there is research showing it can cause a vital passageway in the heart of the baby to close. The passage needs to stay open while a baby is still in the uterus, and then it closes shortly after birth. If the heart passage closes while a woman is still pregnant, it can cause damage to the heart or lungs or death. Even though the risk of birth defects is higher after the 30th week of pregnancy, most medical professionals recommend women avoid it altogether while they’re pregnant and use another alternative. As well as the potential for the premature closing of the heart passage, using NSAIDs during the last weeks of pregnancy is also linked to low levels of amniotic fluid and high blood pressure in the lungs of a newborn. There are even some concerns that the use of NSAIDs late in pregnancy can delay labor, and if this type of pain reliever is used within a week of delivery, it can cause increased bleeding. During the first month of pregnancy, some research shows ibuprofen can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage.
Despite the very real and significant possible effects of using ibuprofen during pregnancy, if a woman has already used it and only done so once, the baby will probably be fine. The biggest risks of using ibuprofen while pregnant stem from repeated, chronic use throughout pregnancy. If it’s something you’re concerned about, speak with your healthcare provider.
Sometimes if a woman is asking “can you take Motrin while pregnant?” or “can pregnant women take ibuprofen?” their healthcare provider will try and point them in the direction of natural alternatives. For example, for headaches, backaches or other mild forms of pain, hot or cold compresses or warm baths could be helpful. Gentle stretching may also be useful. Acupuncture or prenatal massage may be ways to relieve pain without the use of medicine during pregnancy. Some medical providers might suggest herbal alternatives to over-the-counter pain medications. It’s important never to use an herbal medication or supplement without medical guidance during pregnancy, however. Some herbs can cause side effects as serious or more serious during pregnancy than OTC or prescription medications.
If natural alternatives aren’t effective during pregnancy, other OTC medications are considered safer than ibuprofen. Acetaminophen products such as Tylenol may be recommended, but acetaminophen isn’t completely risk-free during pregnancy, so it’s something that should be discussed with a doctor first. For many years acetaminophen was thought to be almost entirely safe during pregnancy. In recent years there has been some research linking it to an increased risk of conditions such as asthma and ADHD when it’s used during pregnancy. A lot of OTC pain medicines are classified as NSAIDs, so women should be very careful before using anything to ensure that it’s not an NSAID. With ibuprofen, it can be shocking to some women that it’s not safe during pregnancy because otherwise it is considered an everyday medicine. If you’re concerned about the use of any medicine or substance during pregnancy, always consult with your physician first and foremost.
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.
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