Potential side effects and fetus safety are of concern for people requiring pain medications during pregnancy. A person can work with a healthcare professional to discuss suitable options.
During pregnancy, pain medications, known as analgesics, can cross the placenta in the same way as nutrients and oxygen.
Many medications can affect fetal development. For example, acetaminophen and ibuprofen are some of the
This article offers insight into the latest safety findings and how to choose safe pain medications during pregnancy.
There is no universally safe pain medication for use in all stages of pregnancy. However, under the guidance of a healthcare professional, safe pain relief during pregnancy is possible.
A healthcare professional may consider any of the following over-the-counter (OTC) medications based on individual needs and stage of pregnancy:
A 2021 consensus statement in
However, some professional groups object to the findings. A 2021 position statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) states there is still no clear evidence showing a link between acetaminophen and fetal complications.
ACOG believes that several factors before 15 months of age can potentially lead to the same developmental concerns. In addition, people should always use acetaminophen — and all analgesics — with appropriate caution.
A person should consult a healthcare professional before taking acetaminophen during pregnancy. Doctors may recommend the lowest effective dose for the shortest time possible.
Common OTC NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
In severe cases, preeclampsia can impair the pregnant person’s liver function and lower levels of platelets in the blood.
Not enough research exists to prove safety parameters, and there may be potential for CBD to contain contaminates such as pesticides, bacteria, or fungus.
A person can use topical pain relief products under a healthcare professional’s direction.
They can be safe options during pregnancy if they do not come into contact with mucosal surfaces, which
Prescription pain relief, which primarily consists of opioids, is not recommended during pregnancy unless nonopioid options have failed to help with severe pain.
Not only do opioids come with a risk for misuse and dependency, the
- maternal death
- preterm birth
- neonatal abstinence syndrome
- poor fetal growth
- specific congenital disabilities
Chronic pain, which implies the presence of pain long-term, can be challenging to manage during pregnancy. However, there are options available.
ACOG notes that doctors aim to manage chronic pain without the use of opioids. Methods can include:
- physical therapy
- behavioral approaches
Doctors may treat chronic pain related to arthritis with certain drugs known as conventional synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (csDMARDs).
Although these drugs are not pain medications, they may help arthritis pain by managing condition-related inflammation.
It is possible for a person to manage pain during pregnancy with minimal risks. A healthcare professional can determine which medication to use and for how long based on pregnancy stage, pain source, and overall health.
Due to well-documented pregnancy risks, doctors do not recommend NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen after the second trimester.