Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, is a clinical writer and also editor covering new treatments and also trending health news." data-inline-tooltip="true">Naveed Saleh, MD, MS

Naveed Saleh, MD, MS, is a clinical writer and also editor covering new treatments and also trending wellness news.

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Pregnancy and discomfort regularly go hand in hand. Yet when discomfort progresses to pain, numerous expectant women wonder what medicines they can safely use for relief. Luckily, for sure painkiller options exist, but just like everything else during pregnancy, diligence (and cautious timing) is necessary. So, discuss all medicines that you take—including over-the-counter (OTC) drugs—with her OB-GYN.


Pain medications, also called analgesics, can be obtained either end the respond to (OTC) or by prescription. Naturally, prescription-strength painkillers space usually much more potent than OTCs, and also they additionally tend come present much more potential risks to the developing fetus. OTC analgesics, however, space not risk-free.

Some OTC and also prescription painkillers rise the likelihood of pregnancy complications or birth defects.

OTC Painkillers

Here's a breakdown of ache relievers, together with guidelines for those that are safe come use and also those that should be avoided during pregnancy. Again, be certain to consult with your physician before taking any medication during pregnancy, whether OTC or prescription strength.

Over-the-counter painkillers come in two categories (acetaminophen and NSAIDs), based on their active ingredient.


Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is thought about safe throughout pregnancy. Fine researched through scientists, paracetamol is used mainly for headaches, fever, aches, pains, and also sore throat. It have the right to be used during all three trimesters of pregnancy. Its usage in pregnancy is widespread. For example, about 50% the pregnant women use it in the an initial trimester.

However, there room some concerns. Research has actually increasingly uncovered an association in between prenatal paracetamol use and also behavioral difficulties in childhood, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). for example, a 2019 study uncovered that babies exposed to high level of acetaminophen in the womb had a greater risk of gift diagnosed through autism and/or ADHD in childhood.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs) encompass aspirin, and also Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen). For the most part, aspirin is not recommended in pregnancy.

However, in the second half of pregnancy, all NSAIDs room contraindicated. The Food and Drug administration (FDA) "recommends staying clear of use of NSAIDs in pregnant at 20 mainly or later since they can an outcome in short amniotic fluid," as well as other complications for the fetus, including kidney problems. While this complications space rare, the aftermath can it is in fatal.

Research shows that short levels of amniotic fluid, a problem known together oligohydramnios, have the right to be seen after simply two days of NSAID use in pregnant women after 20 mainly gestation. When the trouble is detected and the medicine is stopped, the volume that amniotic fluid usually returns to normal. However, when NSAID use continues, severe kidney, heart, and also other developmental troubles can occur.


Aspirin may be prescribed come treat details other medical difficulties in pregnancy, such as preeclampsia. Researches have discovered that taking a daily low dose of aspirin after the 12th main of pregnancy gives safe and effective complication prevention for pregnant females at risk of preterm labor as result of preeclampsia. Aspirin decreases the hazard of fatal blood coagulation in these patients.

Acetylsalicylic acid, the energetic ingredient in aspirin, functions by inhibiting numerous chemical processes in the human body to block pain and also inflammation and inhibits blood clotting. However, it should not be taken by expectant mother (except because that those at high danger for preeclampsia), specifically in high doses, due to the fact that it can reason serious troubles for both the mother and also the fetus.

The services of taking aspirin must be weighed against the boosted risk of major bleeding events (hemorrhage), together aspirin slowly the ability of blood to type clots. This is of certain concern so late term: If aspirin is bring away a work or so before delivery, it have the right to lead to heavy bleeding during labor.

Ibuprofen and also Naproxen

Ibuprofen and naproxen are often thought about safer NSAID options, as these medications have actually lower risk of cradle symptoms and also other side effects. However, both that these medicines should be offered with caution during pregnancy.

Ibuprofen and naproxen room generally considered safe throughout the very first 20 main of pregnancy, yet they are not recommended during the final fifty percent of pregnancy because they boost the risk of fetal kidney problems and also bleeding throughout delivery.

Prescription Painkillers

The an ext common prescription painkillers room categorized together opioids, which room derivatives of the poppy plant. All opioids are taken into consideration narcotics, which are controlled substances and illegal to use without a prescription.

Painkillers that this strength are commonly used for intense pain resulting from injuries, surgery, dentist work, or migraine headaches.

Codeine OxyContin (oxycodone)Percocet (oxycodone and also acetaminophen)Roxanol (morphine)Demerol (meperidine)Duragesic (fentanyl)Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)

Opiates space potent drugs v adverse effects. Physicians enable the use of these drugs sporadically in pregnant patients as soon as the services of the medicine outweigh the potential risks.

There is no evidence that any kind of level of narcotic use throughout pregnancy is safe, and much research study to suggest serious risks. Threats to the fetus encompass miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery. In ~ birth, the infant is likewise at boosted risk of low birth weight (below 5.5 pounds), breathing difficulties, and extreme drowsiness, which deserve to lead to feeding problems.

above Your doctor

Remember to always discuss all prescription and also over-the-counter pain drugs that you're acquisition (or considering taking) with your OB-GYN before taking them. If there space safe painkiller options for pregnant women, part OTC and prescription analgesic drugs can cause serious—even fatal—complications for her baby and also yourself.

Verywell family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Review our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and also keep our content accurate, reliable, and also trustworthy.

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