Can you take paracetamol or ibuprofen when pregnant or breastfeeding?
Our guide to taking painkillers
By Practical Parenting team
January 29 2019
If you are experiencing headaches or a fever during pregnancy, you may need to take a low-dose painkiller. Here are the best and safest options for using pain relief while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Can I take paracetamol if I’m pregnant?
According to the Government website healthdirect.gov.au paracetamol is the first choice of painkiller if you are pregnant since it has been taken by large numbers of pregnant women without any adverse effect on the mother or baby.
However, if you do need to take paracetamol, such as Panadol, when pregnant, make sure you take it for the shortest possible time and speak with your GP or healthcare provider if symptoms are ongoing.
Can I take paracetamol if I’m breastfeeding?
Again, paracetamol is the best choice of painkiller if you are breastfeeding. It appears in breast milk in very small amounts which are unlikely to harm your baby.
However, If you do need to take paracetamol when breastfeeding, ensure you take it for the shortest possible time and speak with your GP if your symptoms persist.
Can I take ibuprofen if I’m pregnant?
Ibuprofen, which is found in Advil and Nurofen, is generally not recommended when pregnant, particularly during the third trimester. In scientific studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found significant evidence that taking ibuprofen during the third trimester can be harmful to babies.
Even taking it during the first month of pregnancy may be harmful, with some research indicating it may cause miscarriage. Always speak to your GP or healthcare practitioner before taking ibuprofen during pregnancy.
Can I take ibuprofen if I’m breastfeeding?
Accrording to Queensland Health, babies are exposed to more medication in the womb than through breastfeeding. Ibuprofen enters breast milk at very low levels, and for example, less than 1% of the ibuprofen in Nurofen passes from mother to infant during breastfeeding.
If possible avoid breastfeeding for 1–2 hours after the dose to minimise the amount that passes through to your baby. Also, take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time and speak with your GP if symptoms persist or if you have any concerns.
Remember, when taking and medications while pregnant or breastfeeding, if there is a range of suitable drugs available, your doctor or pharmacist should choose the drug that is the absolute safest, based on evidence.
For more information on taking medications during pregnancy, visit betterhealth.vic.gov.au