Can I use paracetamol if I'm pregnant?

Headaches, stomach aches or the flu when you're pregnant is no fun. You want to feel better ASAP. Can you take paracetamol when you're pregnant?

Paracetamol when you're pregnant.

When you're pregnant, it's best to be cautious about taking medication. Painkillers and other drugs can have negative consequences for your unborn baby. Are you ill, do you have a fever or pregnancy ailments and do you really need to take something to relieve the pain? Then paracetamol is the safest medicine to use. You can take a maximum of six tablets of 500 mg per day for a maximum of five days. Discuss with your doctor or midwife whether it is okay to take paracetamol in your situation if you are pregnant. Always take the lowest possible dose of paracetamol for the shortest possible time if you are pregnant.

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Paracetamol with caffeine

Caffeine can cause your baby to have a low birth weight. This increases your baby's risk of health problems. Too much caffeine can also cause a miscarriage. So leave those latte's and caffeinated paracetamols alone. They contain the same substance.

Paracetamol against fever

Fever can be dangerous for you and your baby when you're pregnant. It is therefore important to bring the fever down as soon as possible. This can be done by taking paracetamol. In this case, the risk of something happening to you or your baby because of the fever is greater than the risk of side effects of paracetamol.

Research into the consequences of taking paracetamol

Studies have been carried out into the effects of using paracetamol during pregnancy. A number of studies show a relationship between taking paracetamol when you are pregnant and behavioural issues in children. However, it has not been undeniabely proven. The advice therefore remains to take paracetamol - if really necessary- while you are pregnant . When taking medication during pregnancy, the risk of side effects should always be weighed against the severity of the symptoms before you take anything.

What about other painkillers?

Medicines containing ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) are anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In the first half of pregnancy, it is not wise to use these unless explicitly prescribed by a doctor. Taking NSAIDs increases the risk of miscarriage. Your baby may also have heart defects or an open abdomen (gastroschisis). In the second half of pregnancy it is not recommended at all to use NSAIDs. It can slow down contractions and you may need other drugs to get your delivery going. Your baby can also have several serious health problems.

Pain relief without medication

Okay so, paracetamol is considered safe, but you can't rule out all risks. Here are some ways to relieve mild pain without paracetamol. This doesn't apply to fever, because you need to do something about it as soon as possible.
  • Take a warm bath or warm shower
  • Use a hot water bottle (not too hot)
  • Massage the sore spot (Do not massage your lower back during pregnancy)
  • Rest and relax
  • Gentle excersise, at home or outdoors if you like
  • Find distraction
These tips aren't making you feel better? Discuss with your doctor or midwife what is the best solution for you and whether you can take paracetamol. Always read the leaflet before you take anything.

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