Chronic Pain Medication: Advice For Pregnant Women

Health & Medical Articles

According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. These symptoms can cause debilitating problems for sufferers, and often need complex treatment and management strategies. For pregnant women, pain management is a more significant problem because expectant moms must also consider the wellbeing of their unborn children. If you're pregnant, learn more about the effects common pain medications can have, and find out which drugs are suitable during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Addressing the fears that women face during pregnancy

As a pregnant woman, it's perfectly normal (and healthy) to worry about your unborn baby's welfare. A woman's body goes through several changes during pregnancy, and chronic pain is yet another cause of stress for expectant moms. That aside, it's important to remember that pregnant women commonly take medication. In fact, studies show that 96 to 97 percent of women use some form of medication during their pregnancy.

The most common medications that pregnant women use are analgesics, vitamin supplements and antacids, and the most common prescription medicine during pregnancy is an antibiotic. As such, it's important to remember that you are certainly not alone

Why it's important to treat pain during pregnancy

Many conditions can cause chronic pain. These problems include long-term illnesses like osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Ongoing conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and migraines also cause chronic pain, and many women suffer problems with spinal cord injuries. Badly managed pain can result in depression and anxiety, which can easily have an adverse effect on your pregnancy.

For example, a 2013 study showed a link between stress-related problems during pregnancy and an increased risk of childhood and adult obesity. Doctors also believe that stress during pregnancy can lead to mental disorders in children. With this in mind, pregnant women should not ignore the symptoms of chronic pain. Check out sites like for treatment ideas.

The risks of common pain medications

The most common pain medications are relatively safe to use during pregnancy, but you should apply caution with some drugs at certain stages of your pregnancy.

Acetaminophen is a type of analgesic that works in a similar way to aspirin. Studies show that pregnant women can take the drug without any risk of adverse outcomes.

Aspirin is generally effective to temporarily relieve minor aches and pains. Trials show that low doses of aspirin are relatively safe, but the drug can lead to maternal and fetal bleeding.

Common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) include ibuprofen and naproxen. Studies have not shown any problems from these drugs in the first trimester, but use during late pregnancy can lead to heart problems. As such, you should stop using NSAIDs by week 34 of your pregnancy.

Opioids include morphine, codeine and oxycodone, and doctors commonly prescribe these medications to treat chronic pain. Studies have not shown a link between these drugs and defects in children, but neonatal abstinence syndrome can occur. This condition takes place when a pregnant woman uses an opiate and passes on an addiction to the drug to her baby. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms in the child.

Medications and breastfeeding

Most pain medications are safe to use during breastfeeding. Doctors estimate that the paracetamol dose in breast milk is around 6 percent of the maternal dose, which is not harmful. NSAIDs are also compatible with breastfeeding, passing on no more than a 1 percent dose to your baby.

Doctors don't recommend aspirin as a painkiller during pregnancy. The medication can affect children, and the breast milk dose is likely to hit 10 percent.

Pregnant women often worry about using pain medication, but it's important not to try to put up with chronic pain. Talk to your doctor about the medications you can use to make sure you don't harm your unborn baby.


9 December 2014

Tips for Living a Great Life with Chronic Illness

I was always very healthy throughout my childhood, but when I became a teenager, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Thankfully, I had the support of my loving family to help keep me upbeat during a time that could have led to me experiencing the depression that some do after they first learn they will have an illness for life. I am very grateful for the advice I have gotten throughout my life, so I decided to create a blog where I can share all of the advice that has helped me live a happy, healthy life, despite having a chronic illness. Since I am on a medication that suppresses my immune system, I have also studied up on many other illnesses and tips for avoiding them and treating them. I plan to post health tips for people of a variety of ages and suffering with various illnesses!