A pregnant woman undergoes immense pain during the delivery. The gestational period too, isn’t an easy ride for many. Nausea, dizziness, bloating, body pain, headache, etc., are some common problems pregnant women face. And one can’t even simply pop a pill due to the sensitivity of time. However, the progression in science has indeed been a blessing. Now there are multiple ways in which women try to eliminate or decrease the intensity of pain, making the pregnancy journey more bearable.
This article shall shed some light on pregnancy-safe headaches and pain medications. We understand that not every medicine available is tested on pregnant women. However, these are recommended by doctors and are absolutely safe for you and your precious baby. Yet, there are many conditions of taking medicine. Hence, read the entire article before heading to gulp a pill down your throat.
Which headache medicine is safe during pregnancy?
When determining whether or not to use a painkiller during pregnancy, it is essential to weigh up the intensity of this treatment against you or your newborn. Sometimes doctors may consider your pregnancy week before prescribing a pregnancy-safe medicine for headache or pain relief. For example, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) family of painkillers (including naproxen, ibuprofen, and diclofenac) is inappropriate for usage in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the medication of choice for pain during pregnancy. It’s extensively used, and there have been very few documented side effects.
Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are some medicines you should avoid during pregnancy.
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Aleve)
- Ketoprofen (Orudis)
If your pain is quite severe after surgery, for example, your doctor may prescribe a brief span of opioid pain relievers. When taken as mandated, they may not influence the development of the fetus.
That said, opioid usage during pregnancy carries a risk of withdrawal after delivery, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).
Apart from the regular wheezing, coughing, etc., cold comes with intense throat pain. The discomfort is elevated if you are pregnant. However, medicines for cough and cold have not been well studied for usage during pregnancy. Some doctors refrain from prescribing any medication until your 12th week to reduce any potential threats to your baby.
Confident choices comprise:
- Plain cough syrup, like Vicks.
- Dextromethorphan (Robitussin) and dextromethorphan-guaifenesin (Robitussin DM) cough syrups.
- Cough suppressant at night.
- Cough expectorant during the day.
- acetaminophen (Tylenol) to relieve pain and fever
The active ingredient in Sudafed, pseudoephedrine, may increase blood pressure or influence blood flow from the uterus to the fetus. The FDA does not classify this drug, and it may be secure during pregnancy but talk to your doctor if you have high blood pressure or other problems.
Doctors often suggest trying home remedies before taking medicines:
- Utilize menthol rub on your chest.
- Remain hydrated by drinking water and amiable liquids, like tea or chicken soup.
- Utilize saline nose drops to oppose stuffiness.
- Get an abundance of rest.
- Humidify the air in your room.
- Suck on lozenges or cough drops.
- Use warm salt water to gargle and get relief from sore throat.
- Try nasal ribbons to open airways.
Heartburn and acid reflux
Heartburn is common, especially during the 1st and 3rd trimesters. Also, the intense pain is sometimes unbearable. OTC antacids including alginic acid, magnesium, aluminum, and calcium are typically secure during pregnancy:
- Aluminum hydroxide-magnesium hydroxide (Maalox)
- Calcium carbonate (Tums)
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Simethicone (Mylanta)
For painful heartburn, your doctor may recommend taking H2 blockers, like:
- ranitidine (Zantac)
- cimetidine (Tagamet)
Lifestyle modifications may also help carry the edge off heartburn:
- Try maintaining a food diary to help determine specific foods that may be triggering your reflux.
- Eat small meals during the day.
- Wait three hours to lie down after a meal. Avoid eating late meals just before bedtime.
- Sleep with your head elevated at night.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes weaved in breathable fabric that do not put pressure on your stomach.
- Check antacid foods here.
Talk to your doctor if your heartburn becomes painful. In some rare cases, it can signify HELLP syndrome, a severe pregnancy complication.
Mild and severe allergies
Mild allergies may react well to lifestyle criteria. If you require some additional help, the following OTC oral antihistamines are typically assumed safe:
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
- loratadine (Claritin, Alavert)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
If your allergies are more painful, your doctor may recommend taking an OTC corticosteroid spray at a lower dose along with an oral antihistamine. Options comprise:
- budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy)
- mometasone (Nasonex)
- fluticasone (Flonase)
You may also endeavor the following lifestyle transformations:
- Take off the clothes you are wearing outside. Wash pollen from skin and hair with a quick shower.
- Wear a mask when completing outdoor tasks or enroll the help of someone else for tasks such as cutting the grass.
- Avoid going outside or opening windows on high pollen days.
- Wash the nasal passages with a saline neti pot or spray.
Stool softeners are generally regarded as secure during pregnancy. Choices include Coalesce or Surface.
Laxatives such as Dulcolax, Senokot, or Milk of Magnesia may also help, but talk to your doctor before trying any of these medications.
Other treatment choices for constipation enclose the following:
- Drink more water and fluids. Prune juice is another good option.
- Add more activity to each day.
- Eat more fiber-rich foods.
Consult with your doctor about fiber supplements, such as Metamucil.
Nausea and vomiting
In the first trimester of pregnancy, morning sickness is common. You may experience mild to intense stomach pain or chest pain during this time. Though it is not always necessary to seek treatment, informing your doctor about the intensity will benefit you. Before reaching for pharmaceuticals, try natural cures like eating small meals or sipping ginger ale throughout the day.
Your doctor may advise trying the following:
- vitamin B-6, 25 milligrams three times a day
- doxylamine succinate (Unisom)
- dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
If you’re having extreme nausea and vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum), your doctor may prescribe the following medications:
- doxylamine succinate-pyridoxine hydrochloride (Diclegis)
- ondansetron (Zofran)
Hemorrhoids can develop due to swollen blood vessels or constipation during pregnancy.
Some pregnancy-safe treatments for hemorrhoids include:
- Using Tucks pads, witch hazel pads, or other pads
- Using Preparation H
- Grab some Anusol
However, before reaching for the above, you may want to try other methods first:
- Fill a tub halfway with warm water to soak the hemorrhoids. Don’t add soap or bubble bath.
- Take stool softeners, drink more water, exercise more, and consume more fiber to relieve constipation.
- Try ring pillows or hemorrhoid cushions when you have to sit.
- Lie on your side when possible during the pregnancy tenure.
Infections with yeast are prevalent during pregnancy. Still, before treating it at home, you should consult your doctor for a precise diagnosis.
Safe medications include:
- miconazole (Monistat)
- clotrimazole (Lotrimin)
- butoconazole (Femstat)
Home remedies and natural treatments are generally not recommended for yeast infections during pregnancy.
One can use OTC hydrocortisone cream during pregnancy to relieve rashes and itchy skin. However, tell your doctor about your symptoms to rule out illnesses, including pruritic urticarial papules and pregnancy plaques (PUPPPs). For certain situations, your doctor may prescribe steroidal creams.
Clean cuts and scrapes thoroughly with soap and water. For further protection, use an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin.
Supplement use during pregnancy
Examine any supplements you take or intend to take during pregnancy with your doctor.
While prenatal vitamins are advised to support levels of essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, other supplements may pose a threat to your baby, and they can also interact with drugs you are already taking.
Note that simply because something is marked “all-natural” doesn’t always imply it’s safe. The FDA does not regulate supplements medicines in the same way as prescription drugs and comes with a warning, so discuss with your doctor before starting any.
Prescription medications you’re already taking
Before pregnancy, you may already take prescribed medications for thyroid problems, high blood pressure, or other infections. Talk to your doctor about continuing with these medicines, specifically if you are already pregnant or plan to become pregnant shortly.
In many circumstances, you can safely take your medicine during pregnancy. Sometimes you may need to adjust the dosage or take another safe drug for you and the baby.
Complementary and alternative therapies can be suitable choices during pregnancy. Examples comprise:
- chiropractic care
- massage therapy
However, some complementary and alternative medicine methods may not be safe, especially those involving herbs or supplements. In general, alternative therapies are not well studied, so discuss any plans you plan to try with your doctor.
Also, do your homework on other practitioners before leaving for the visit. Make sure they have the proper licenses to practice on pregnant women.
What if one has already used a painkiller during pregnancy?
Paracetamol is the pain reliever option for usage in pregnancy, and its usage does not need medical supervision. It is not unusual for women to use other kinds of painkillers earlier in pregnancy before discovering out they are pregnant. In general, this kind of usage is not anticipated to hurt the baby. It is essential that women who take NSAIDs for a long time, who become pregnant, consult with their doctor, as their medication will need to be changed before the 30th week of pregnancy, if possible.
Pregnant women with prolonged pain or specific pain conditions should talk to their doctor about suitable pain relief choices. Women taking opiates/opioids and pain relievers for neuropathic pain around the delivery time may be advised to stay alert and reach the hospitals way ahead of time. It is also detrimental that the hospitals they choose are high facilities and can treat any withdrawal symptoms after birth.
There are several medicines that you can safely take during pregnancy. The critical point is communicating with your healthcare provider.
An excellent online, evidence-based resource to investigate is “Mother to the baby.” It provides truth sheets on various drugs and further information on possible interactions and congenital disabilities. Most maternity offices have a helpline you can call between meetings. Don’t hesitate to dial in with any of your concerns or questions.
Disclaimer: All the medications prescribed above are safe to be taken during a normal pregnancy. If you suffer from the slightest complication, it’s mandatory to consult a doctor before reaching the chemist. Even in normal circumstances, it’s advisable for pregnant women to have their doctor’s number at emergency dial and call whenever required.