Is It Safe to Take Oxycodone in Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Valerie Goldberg
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Oxycodone is a narcotic pain medication that doctors prescribe to relieve symptoms in patients with very severe pain. Many patients are prescribed this drug after major dental work, while in recovery from a surgery or for a chronic pain condition. Pregnant women who are in need of pain medication may worry that taking oxycodone in pregnancy can hurt their unborn baby. It may be safe to take oxycodone while pregnant, but it is important for women to follow their doctors' orders strictly. Decisions about whether a woman should be taking oxycodone while pregnant is usually made on a case-by-case basis.

Not much research has been done about the harmful effects of oxycodone on unborn babies. Oxycodone tests that have been performed on animals show the drug does not put fetuses at a larger risk for birth defects. Based on the little information available, some doctors think it is safe for women to take limited amounts of oxycodone in pregnancy — if the drug is the best medication available to treat the pain.


Doctors will weigh the risks and benefits of a woman taking oxycodone in pregnancy before prescribing the medication. A healthcare provider who sees the benefit of the medicine to the mother outweighing the risk to the baby may prescribe the drug. The doctor will likely give the woman a small prescription of oxycodone and will want to see her for regular checkups before prescribing refills. It is important that pregnant women only take oxycodone prescribed directly to them. It is never a good idea for a woman to get oxycodone pills from a friend, because one woman's pregnancy may be considered more high risk than another woman's pregnancy, meaning oxycodone that is safe for one pregnancy might not be for another.

Taking oxycodone in moderation may be OK during pregnancy, but being addicted to oxycodone in pregnancy is not. A woman who is addicted to oxycodone and becomes pregnant should seek professional help as soon as possible. Women who abuse oxycodone during an entire pregnancy can wind up with babies being born already addicted to oxycodone. Babies born to oxycodone-addicted women also stand the chance of having extra-low birth weights.

Pregnant women should speak to their doctors about finding medical detoxification centers that specialize in helping pregnant narcotics addicts. Detoxing alone at home can be very dangerous for pregnant women. Done incorrectly, detoxing can cause painful and harmful side effects to both mothers and babies.


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Post 2

I am 21 weeks pregnant and I had been off of oxycodone for 16 months but in the last week, the pain associated with pregnancy had got a little intense so I've been taking oxycodone. Is stopping it on my own dangerous at this point?

Post 1

Something to keep in mind is the effect on the baby after birth. This is an addictive medication and baby can experience withdrawal if s/he is born with oxycodone in their system.

I didn't take percocet during my pregnancy, but I was at one time prescribed a narcotic cough syrup. I felt that my symptoms were severe enough that they could be interfering with my body's ability to take care of my baby, so I did take the cough syrup for a few days. This was in my late second trimester, so I was nowhere near delivery.

If you take this drug during pregnancy, talk to your doctor about gradually tapering off your dose and being off the drug altogether before your due date. Could go easier on the baby.

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