Can I take ibuprofen if I am pregnant? Does it affect the baby? Is it true that it can cause miscarriage?
One of the most common questions for pregnant women is whether they can take medications such as ibuprofen if there is any discomfort, such as a headache, sore throat, or joint pain.
This is one of the most common anti-inflammatory drugs used by most people to treat muscle aches, headaches, and arthritis.
Ibuprofen is a very commonly used medicine, but can it be taken during pregnancy?
The best thing to do when you are pregnant is to avoid taking medication, especially in the last three months of pregnancy, as many of them have contraindications and can be harmful to the baby.
For this and other reasons, many pregnant women wonder: Can ibuprofen be taken during pregnancy? What effects can it have on the baby? What precautions should be taken?
What is ibuprofen and what is it for?
Ibuprofen is one of the most widespread medications used by most people to relieve all types of muscle aches, headaches, and arthritis. It is found in the medicine cabinet of most homes, and its effectiveness is very high.
But although it is an analgesic, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory indicated against any mild or moderate pain, such as cold discomfort and inflammatory diseases, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, ibuprofen may be contraindicated in certain situations, and one of them is pregnancy.
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medicine that is usually given by mouth.
Can ibuprofen be taken in pregnancy?
For any type of discomfort or pain, ibuprofen is most commonly used, but ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that taking this drug during pregnancy tends to be much more dangerous than breast-feeding, since the baby’s body is only just forming and could affect its development.
According to several studies, taking ibuprofen during pregnancy may even cause the baby’s heart tubes to close prematurely, increasing the possibility of damage to the baby’s heart or lungs. In the worst case scenario, this can even be fatal, producing even abortion.
Ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy.
It can also cause the mother to stop producing the amount of amniotic fluid needed to keep the baby healthy in the womb. This, in turn, can cause an increase in blood pressure in the baby’s lungs.
On their website ibuprofen is listed as Not Recommended during the last trimester of pregnancy and in the previous 30 weeks only if the benefit justifies the risk to the fetus or baby.
Risks of Taking Ibuprofen in Pregnancy According to Studies
According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, it is best not to avoid using ibuprofen to treat pain and discomfort in pregnancy, or at least to do so with caution and under medical indication.
Research data revealed that non-steroidal analgesics (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac and celebrex (used to treat joint pain from arthritis) during the first trimester of pregnancy may cause the following:
- To increase the risk of suffering involuntary abortion in women who ingest it from two weeks before conception until the 20th week of pregnancy, as it has been proven that these drugs make it difficult to implant the embryo in the uterus.
- Cause birth defects, such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
- Faults in the wall of the baby’s abdomen
To reach these conclusions, the experts conducted in-depth research on 5,000 women who had suffered a miscarriage. After several analyses, it was discovered that in 10% of cases, NSAIDs were taken during pregnancy.
10% of miscarriages were due to non-steroidal analgesics (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen.
Although the effects varied according to the substance used, a doubling of the risk for ibuprofen was observed.
Other studies have found that taking ibuprofen in pregnancy can cause certain alterations in pulmonary vascularization, in fact persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is highly related to exposure to the same drugs as ibuprofen, aspirin and naxoprene.
In any trimester of pregnancy, taking ibuprofen increases the risk of miscarriage.
Why is ibuprofen contraindicated in the third trimester of pregnancy?
Throughout the first two trimesters of pregnancy, the physician may indicate that the minimum dose be taken in cases that are truly necessary.
For the third quarter, ibuprofen is totally contraindicated. Taking ibuprofen in pregnancy during this last stage (starting at 28 weeks) may cause the following:
- Intervene in the development of fetal circulation: Research suggests that ibuprofen may cause problems in the baby’s heart, as it tends to close the baby’s ducts prematurely.
- Decrease the amount of amniotic fluid and greatly affect the development of the baby’s lungs.
- Delaying or prolonging childbirth, and if consumed in the week before childbirth, increase the risk of bleeding.
Ibuprofen in pregnancy is in the fetal risk category B because there is not enough evidence of risk at this stage. However, during the third trimester of pregnancy the risk factor is elevated to D, so its use should be avoided.
Regardless of the stage of gestation in which you are, the consumption of ibuprofen in pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriages, so it is best to avoid it and always consult a doctor if necessary.
What are the side effects of ibuprofen in pregnant women?
In addition to the possible risks that ibuprofen can cause during pregnancy, there are certain adverse effects that can affect the mother while ingested.
The most common side effects of ibuprofen in pregnancy include:
- Gas or bloating
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Ringing in the ears.
It is always best to avoid taking medications during pregnancy or to do so only in cases recommended by your doctor.
Ibuprofen before pregnancy
Before pregnancy, ibuprofen can also have negative consequences for women who want or are trying to get pregnant. When ingested before or during conception, this medicine decreases the production of prostaglandins, substances that play an important role during the ovulation process.
Ibuprofen Can Affect Getting Pregnant
Prostaglandins also help the embryo attach to the walls of the uterus. Ibuprofen slows down the conception process in women who want to become pregnant, so it is not recommended if you are trying to have a baby.
How to replace ibuprofen in pregnancy?
If you can’t take ibuprofen while you’re pregnant: What medicine can you take?
For any discomfort or ailment during pregnancy, there are certain medications that, previously prescribed by the doctor can replace ibuprofen in pregnancy.
Let’s see what ibuprofen substitutes are:
- Paracetamol: As long as it is given in the recommended doses, paracetamol (Acetaminophen, Tylenol) is perfect for relieving discomfort and pain in pregnancy, because in addition to having effects locally, its safety during this stage, has been proven for years.
- Cough Pills: If you have a sore throat, or other cold symptoms, cough drops can be a very safe alternative for you, as it has negative consequences for the developing baby.
- Antacids: Heartburn is a fairly common discomfort throughout pregnancy, so taking this type of medication is safe for your relief and prevention. However, do not forget to consult your doctor beforehand to prescribe the recommended dose.
It is not recommended to self-medicate during pregnancy, consult your doctor for your particular case.
Infusions of ginger, lemon and honey are perfect for relieving colds, but so are thyme and bay leaf.
And if what you need is to soothe back pain a good massage with some heat in the area will make you feel like new.
If you are pregnant, it is advisable to consult your doctor for advice on the right medication and the dose you should take.
If acetaminophen does not have the desired effect (the response to medications differs from person to person), consult your doctor about the possibility of using ibuprofen, because no one better than your doctor can determine whether the benefits of ibuprofen are important enough to prescribe during pregnancy.
In any case, remember that it is always best to avoid any type of medication during this stage, and if it is very necessary, always do so taking the proper precautions and under the supervision of the doctor.
The important thing is not to self-medicate and always use a specialist.
If you have any doubt, consult your doctor about the particular case of your pregnancy.