No one knows sores and aches better than a mother going through pregnancy. As you go through the 40 weeks of carrying a baby in your belly, you experience a wide range of body pain ranging from low and tolerable to hair-pulling painful. The pain can become so intolerable that you cannot help but reach for the nearest painkiller.
But hold your horses. Medications become tricky during pregnancy, and your over-the-counter pain relievers might become more of a hassle than a solution.
Advil is one of the most widely-recognized brands of ibuprofen on the market. But is it safe for pregnant mothers? And what happens if you take one during your pregnancy?
Table of Contents
- What is Ibuprofen? And What Happens if I Take Too Much of It?
- Is Ibuprofen Safe During Pregnancy?
- I Accidentally Took Advil While Pregnant. Will That Affect My Baby?
- Alternatives Painkillers During Pregnancy
- Home Remedies to Reduce Pain During Pregnancy
What is Ibuprofen? And What Happens if I Take Too Much of It?
Many people are familiar with the brand Advil and its generic name, ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a painkiller that falls under nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Besides treating aches and sores, ibuprofen is also used to treat fevers.
Ibuprofen is used worldwide by many people. At small doses, it should not cause significant side effects. However, when taken too frequently or at a higher dosage, it can cause harm to the body. Adults should only take 200-400 mg of ibuprofen per dose and should follow a 4-6 hours timeframe.
Overdosing ibuprofen is not fatal but can cause painful and severe complications. At high dosages, patients can experience heartburn, loss of consciousness, metabolic acidosis, and, in rare cases, kidney failure. Immediate medical attention can reverse the effects of an ibuprofen overdose.
Is Ibuprofen Safe During Pregnancy?
For the most part, taking Advil or any other form of ibuprofen while pregnant should be avoided. Ibuprofen can cause developmental issues for your baby and may lead to complications. The only exemption should be if your doctor prescribes you a safe dosage.
The timing of your pregnancy matters. During the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy, there is a potential risk of miscarriage and birth anomalies. While studies about the effects of ibuprofen during the first 20 weeks often clash, it is better to be safe and avoid Advil and ibuprofen unless your doctor prescribes it.
You should, however, be extra careful with taking ibuprofen after your first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Ibuprofen can affect your baby’s kidneys and amniotic acid. There is also a risk of lung and heart damage to your baby when taking ibuprofen beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy.
I Accidentally Took Advil While Pregnant. Will That Affect My Baby?
Let’s say you unwittingly took a one-off dose of Advil. If you only had one pill sometime during your first 20 weeks of pregnancy, you and your baby should be fine. A single dose of Advil should not cause any life-threatening side effects.
However, the issue comes when you either regularly take Advil or have taken a dose after your first 20 weeks. At that point, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
If you took Advil before knowing you were pregnant, there is a low chance that the medication will cause any damage to your baby. However, it is still advisable to speak about this to your doctor.
Alternatives Painkillers During Pregnancy
Ibuprofen and other forms of NSAIDs, such as naproxen, aspirin, and celecoxib, should be avoided by pregnant moms because they cause plenty of risks and complications to the baby. NSAIDs are linked to a higher risk of miscarriage and problems in your baby’s development. NSAIDs should only be used under a doctor’s supervision and at low dosages.
So what painkillers can mothers take? One safe option can be acetaminophen. Many doctors prescribe mothers acetaminophen. However, you should avoid this medication if your doctor does not approve it, you are allergic to it, or you have problems in the liver.
Frequently taking acetaminophen is suggested to have links to risks of mild developmental delays or ADHD. Other studies link acetaminophen to increased risks of wheezing and asthma. However, more research is needed.
Opioids such as codeine, morphine, and oxycodone are strong pain medications. However, they are linked with increased risks of birth problems, including premature birth, preterm labor, and stillbirth. Immediately cutting out opioids can also lead to health issues between the mother and baby.
Opioids are dangerous once your baby comes in contact with it. They can experience withdrawal symptoms and develop neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), which makes your baby smaller or have trouble breathing.
It is best to avoid opioids during pregnancy because of their side effects. Your doctor can help you gradually reduce your dosage to keep you and your baby safe.
Home Remedies to Reduce Pain During Pregnancy
Painkillers, especially without a doctor’s prescription, are risky during pregnancy. If you are experiencing pain, you can first do home remedies to avoid taking medications. Below are some ideas on what you can do to reduce the pain at home:
- Rest as much as you can. Do not overexert your body at work or with chores.
- Do some light workouts when you have enough energy. Stretching can help warm your body and ligaments.
- Soak in a warm bath.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get a prenatal massage to relieve aches around your body.
- Wear clothes and shoes that can support your body.
- Use a warm or cold compress on sore areas.
These home remedies will not magically throw all your pains during pregnancy, but they can give some needed relief. Some tips will work better than others, so look for what is best for you. You can also do this before trying pain medications.
While painkillers can provide temporary relief, they also have risks if taken without precaution. And because of how different people’s bodies are, the side effect of one drug will vary from one person to another. So always contact your health provider before opening that pack of Advil.
What painkiller is safe for pregnant mothers?
It depends on what your doctor will prescribe you. Acetaminophen is the most prescribed painkiller for pregnant mothers. However, your doctor is the only one who can tell you which painkiller is the safest.
How much ibuprofen can I take every day as an adult?
Non-pregnant adults can safely ingest a maximum of 1,200 mg per day.