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Is It Safe to Use Paracetamol When Pregnant?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 October 2016
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Taking paracetamol when pregnant is typically considered safe, especially when it is used on an occasional basis versus extended usage. Unlike some other medications that can be used for the treatment of fever and minor-to-moderate pain, a woman can use paracetamol in all three trimesters of pregnancy. When using this medication in pregnancy, however, a woman is usually advised to stick with recommended dosages. By doing so, she may avoid serious health problems that are associated with high doses of the drug. Additionally, a woman should always consult with a trusted health care practitioner before taking any medication, including paracetamol, during her pregnancy.

When a pregnant woman develops pain and fever, her first thought may be to take a medication called paracetamol. Also called acetaminophen, the drug is a common over-the-counter (OTC) fever reducer and pain reliever. While a woman may feel concerned about whether it is safe to use paracetamol when pregnant, her worries are usually unfounded, as most medical experts agree that it is safe. In fact, when doctors have to recommend a pain reliever or fever reducer for use in pregnancy, this is usually one of the most likely choices.

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Most health care experts assert that paracetamol is safe for use in all trimesters of pregnancy. This is in sharp contrast to many other OTC fever and pain relievers. For example, pregnant women are often advised to avoid the use of ibuprofen, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy. This is due to the fact that ibuprofen may work to thin the blood and increase a woman's risk of hemorrhaging during or after labor and deliver. For the same reason, aspirin is often crossed off the list of safe drugs to use during pregnancy.

Though it is usually safe for a woman to use paracetamol when pregnant, it is still important to take steps to make sure her medicine consumption will be as risk-free as possible. The first step involves consulting a doctor or other health care professional before using paracetamol when pregnant. A woman may also do well to take the medicine as directed, avoiding overdoses and extended use. This is important, as overdoses of this drug can lead to liver damage and other health problems. Additionally, extended use in the third trimester has been linked to wheezing during childhood and the risk of preterm labor in some pregnant women.

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