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Paracetamol is a pain relief medication that provides effective temporary relief from mild to moderate pain associated with many different common conditions – including headache, migraine, osteoarthritis, cold and flu symptoms, toothache, muscular aches, sore throat pain and period pain.
Learn more about using Paracetamol during pregnancy with this simple guide. Pregnant women should seek medical advice before taking paracetamol.
Medicines can affect the unborn baby. Always talk to your doctor before taking any medicine in pregnancy.
Is Paracetamol sutiable to use when pregnant?
While there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to the question of whether you should use Paracetamol when pregnant (this should always be decided by your doctor), in most cases, paracetamol-based pain relievers are considered sutiable to take during your pregnancy. i, iii, vii
In fact, paracetamol is considered to be the first-line pain medication for use during both pregnancy and breastfeeding for the treatment of mild to moderate pain, and it is used by many pregnant women.iv
It’s important to note that the safety of Paracetamol for use during pregnancy is a key difference between paracetamol and ibuprofen, another common pain reliever. While paracetamol products may be sutiable in most cases of pregnancy, ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory over-the-counter pain relief medication) should be avoided during the entire pregnancy and is not to be taken at all during the third trimester, unless advised by a healthcare professional.v
This is because taking ibuprofen during the third trismester of pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of complications for an unborn baby, including heart problems and a reduced amount of amniotic fluid (the clear liquid that surrounds a foetus while inside the uterus, which is essential to healthy physical development).v, vi
Of course, while Paracetamol is generally considered to be a suitable option to use during most pregnancies, you should always consult your doctor or a healthcare professional before taking any form of medication, while pregnant – to make sure it’s right and safe for you.
When using Paracetamol, be sure to always follow the directions for use that are found on the product label. It is recommended that you only take Paracetamol for the shortest possible amount of time and in the lowest effective dose.i
Pregnant women should always seek advise from their Physician before taking paracetamol or for that matter any medication.
Self medication in NOT advised.
How often can you take paracetamol when pregnant?
Your doctor is the best person to advise you on how much and how often you should take paracetamol when pregnant (if at all), and on what may be the right dosage for you.
In most cases, it is still recommended that you only take paracetamol for the shortest possible amount of time and in the lowest effective dose.i
i. Can I take paracetamol when I am pregnant? NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-adults/. Accessed 02/11/20.
ii. Paracetamol. Health Direct (Australian Government Department of Health). https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/paracetamol. Accessed 02/11/20.
iii. Analgesics and pain relief in pregnancy and Breastfeeding. NPS Medicinewise. https://www.nps.org.au/assets/f4cd8a064d47b62a-0e01df33044e-139fddfcb7c79fd0c38a7065fad62081b237334047fed3a63e4463e31f34.pdf. Accessed 02/11/20.
iv. Use of paracetamol during pregnancy and child neurological development. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology (2015). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/dmcn.12745. Accessed 02/11/20.
v. Can I take ibuprofen when I am pregnant? NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/ibuprofen-for-adults/. Accessed 02/11/20.
vi. Amniotic fluid. MedlinePlus (U.S. National Library of Medicine). https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002220.htm. Accessed 02/11/20.
vii. Medicines During Pregnancy. Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uf9707/. Accessed 02/11/20.
viii. Headaches in pregnancy. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/common-symptoms/headaches/. Accessed 02/11/20.
ix. Headaches in early pregnancy. Stanford Children’s Health. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=headaches-in-early-pregnancy-134-3. Accessed 02/11/20.