by Pregnancy.org Staff
Pain relief medications -- are they a welcome relief during pregnancy or a cause for alarm? There are lots of opinions on the subject which can be overwhelming. We're making this concern easier to digest by laying out the facts so you can decide on your own.
After a day of being on her feet at work, dealing with the non-stop chatter of her co-workers and customers, Kate was now battling a full blown enormous headache. The so-called “morning” sickness had kept her up again last night. She couldn't wait to get home and reach in the medicine cabinet for some relief.
Kate should pause, and so should you, before grabbing that stand-by Aleve or Motrin. While 17% of expectant women use these medications, they're not recommended during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters.
Recently, a Canadian study found that the risk of miscarriage more than doubled in women who used any non-aspirin non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during pregnancy. Given that it has already been shown that use of NSAIDS during early pregnancy increases the risk of major congenital malformations, this news definitely presents a larger caution flag for pregnant patients.
With hormones surging and an ever-changing physique, you might be tempted to pop a pill to send the aches away. Try these suggestions; they'll help you feel better and preferably medication-free:
Headache: You don't have to be at the mercy of your headaches. Try these tips to prevent or relieve headaches during your pregnancy:
Cramps and abdominal aches: Your uterus stretching and growing can feel like mild to moderate menstrual cramps. Early in your pregnancy it could be implantation pain -- when your wee babe is snuggling into the womb for a long, cozy stay. [Editor's note: The first three months, severe abdominal pain can be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. This serious condition requires immediate medical attention.]
In most cases, you can reduce the cramps and abdominal aches with:
Joint and ligament pain: The increased weight of your uterus can press against nerves in your abdomen or pelvis and cause pain. Sciatic nerve pain might occur when the hormone relaxin starts to loosen the connections between pelvic joints. Ways to relieve this condition: