Pain Medications During Pregnancy: Safe and Unsafe Drugs

Aspirin is in nearly everyone's medicine cabinet - but research shows that it is extremely harmful to mom and baby during pregnancy. Image by sapid.

Aspirin is in nearly everyone’s medicine cabinet – but research shows that it is extremely harmful to mom and baby during pregnancy. Image by sapid.

Safe Medications During Pregnancy

Another familiar medication, Tylenol (acetaminophen), is a safer choice – it can be your number one pain relief during pregnancy if necessary. In 2009, researchers studied thousands of women treated with acetaminophen, and every woman showed healthy results at all stages of pregnancy when used in normal, appropriate dosages.

Check With Your Doctor for Safe Pain Medication

No drug is 100% safe during pregnancy, but if a pain medication is absolutely necessary, a professional can manage the dosage to help you during this time. You can manage severe pain pharmaceutically with the help of your local pain management specialist and your obstetrician.

In general, you should medicate if you’re dealing with cancers, fractures, and other incidences and causes of severe pain, but you can relieve mild to moderate pain with stress relief measures; alternative therapies, including hypnosis, massage, heat, ice, sleep, and Tylenol in moderation. For back pain, consider using physical therapy and water therapy, and speak to your provider about support devices for pelvic ligament and back pain.

Finally, ask your doctor about any medication you are considering taking, and always take approved drugs in appropriate doses.


Malaika Babb, PharmD, Gideon Koren, MD FRCPC FACMT and Adrienne Einarson, RN. Treating Pain During Pregnancy. (2010). Accessed June 1, 2013.

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Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and lactation. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. (2002)

Robert Seiler. Management of Pain During Pregnancy. Accessed June 1, 2013.

WebMD. Pregnancy and Medicine. (2012). Accessed June 4, 2013.

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