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title pic New Painkiller Warning

Posted by Claudia Grazioso on September 22, 2011

New Painkiller Warning

Pregnancy can make you a little crazy. There is so much advice — so much of it unwanted, and some of it even unreliable. What you’re supposed to indulge in one day is strictly verboten the next. What is horrible for you and your baby on Monday offers the best shot at giving birth to a genius Olympic medalist by Wednesday. It can make your head spin and sometimes you might want to just start ignoring the latest news and studies. But as tempting as that is, sometimes it pays to keep informed on the latest warnings.


Very recently, a Canadian study looked at the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in pregnancy. If you’re like me, you probably looked at that and thought, “non-who-anti-what-the? I’ve never taken those in my life, I don’t have to worry.” But the thing is, you probably have taken them. NSAIDS are a class of painkiller that is available over the counter in the United States and it includes such medicine cabinet staples like ibuprofen and naxopren. So if you’ve ever popped a Motrin for cramps or a migraine, yes, you’ve taken NSAIDS.


Which is absolutely fine unless, according to this new study, you happen to be pregnant. The study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that women who took NSAIDs in the first twenty weeks of pregnancy more than doubled their risk of miscarriage. This study’s results are in contrast to a long-standing belief that NSAIDs were generally safe for use in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. The researchers theorize that this might be because NSAIDs cause the levels of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance, to fluctuate and thus possibly induce a miscarriage. Some doctors are concerned enough by these findings to urge women who take these drugs to manage pain to see if they can stop using them at least through the first trimester. Other doctors feel that the findings aren’t conclusive enough yet to urge a course of action. Once again, it’s up to the expectant mom, who is probably already juggling quite a bit, to make the call.

Doubling your risk of miscarriage might not be conclusive, but it seems like enough of a warning to me. If you are pregnant and need to take a painkiller, consider talking to your doctor about alternatives to NSAIDs. Right now, Tylenol is still considered safe for use during pregnancy. (Of course, that can always change! Check back Wednesday!)

But seriously, talk to your doctor about your best options.

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