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What painkillers are allowed during pregnancy and which not?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Although pregnancy represents one of the most critical stages in a woman’s life, it also involves appearing a wide range of sensations and symptoms. This is the case of any pain that, in other circumstances, could be considered less critical. Still, assessing the damage that a particular medicine can cause to the fetus can make the woman wonder which is the best choice.

In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain the effects of the most frequently used painkillers and which are the painkillers allowed during pregnancy. Pay attention!

Effects of medications on the fetus

During pregnancy, a series of alterations of the normal functions of the organism occurs to compensate for the fact of having to maintain another life, at the same time that normal functions are fulfilled. This implies that there may be an increase in the part of the kidneys, the amount of fluid in the body, a decrease in bowel movements, or the presence of specific proteins in the blood, which modifies the transport and elimination of medicines.

Of all the changes, the most important is the passage of maternal blood through the fetus since the drugs travel through the blood to their sites of action. As it is the most delicate stage of life development, it is essential to know the possible effects of a drug on the fetus, especially those most commonly used, such as analgesics. And it is that the consumption of inappropriate medications could lead to delays in the development of the fetus or the appearance of different syndromes.

According to the effects of the drugs they have on the fetus (teratogenic effects), scientific research has classified drugs according to their level of safety as follows: in groups ranging from A (safest) to D ( most dangerous) and marked with an X those that should never be used during pregnancy. To classify a drug, the stage of development of the fetus and the nature and action of the drug must be taken into account at a minimum.

What are unsafe pain relievers during pregnancy?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

This is the most commonly used group of pain relievers and includes, for example, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, ketorolac, and naproxen, among many others. It is contraindicated, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy, as it can lead to premature closure of a structure known as the ductus arteriosus, which communicates the circulation of the heart with that of the lungs to relieve the latter of excess blood during its development. The premature closure of this structure can cause an alteration in the development of the child’s lungs.

Attempts have been made to link these painkillers with an increased risk of miscarriage during the first two trimesters of development. Other effects they can cause include: excessive bleeding during delivery, predisposition of the child to hemorrhage, and delayed delivery.

Opioid pain relievers

They include codeine, fentanyl, morphine, and tramadol, among others. Although they do not produce essential alterations in the development of the fetus, they can make a physical dependence on it. The newborn child has neonatal withdrawal syndrome, which manifests with excessive crying, fever, irritability, excessive sucking, sweating, and other symptoms.

In addition, they can cause respiratory depression if administered during the last trimester and respiratory malformations if administered for long periods. If the mother takes opioid pain relievers and stops them abruptly, it can lead to uterine irritability, miscarriage, or premature delivery.


They are medications that provide relief to patients suffering from migraines. However, a very high potential for harm to the fetus has been shown, causing constriction of blood vessels, and therefore they should never be administered to pregnant women.


Like the previous ones, they are used to relieve migraines. Their use should be avoided in the third trimester, as they can cause uterine atony and bleeding. Some examples are sumatriptan and zolmitriptan.

What painkillers can be taken in pregnancy

Next, we show you which are the analgesic medications allowed in pregnancy:


It is a pain reliever for pregnant women suffering from mild to moderate pain. However, its use is recommended for short periods since there is the possibility that it causes an alteration of the renal function of the fetus.

Opioid pain relievers

They can be used to control more muscular pain. The problem is in the addiction and dependence on the part of the mother and the baby. The doses should be maintained, indicated for short periods, and the medication discontinued as soon as possible. The use of fentanyl patches is highly recommended.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

It provided that its use is for brief periods and under the doctor’s supervision. Its consumption should always be avoided after the 28th week of gestation. The drugs of choice are ibuprofen, ketoprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen.

In case of migraines

The first attempt with paracetamol should always be made. When this does not relieve the patient, you should opt for a drug from the triptan family. Ergotamines should never be used.

For if you did not know, sex and the release of endorphins is one of the best natural painkillers that we have at our disposal. In the following article, you will learn all the benefits of relationships during pregnancy.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Painkillers allowed in pregnancy , we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category .

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