It is important to be mindful of the medications that you are taking, especially when you are pregnant. Even regular medications that you usually take during normal days must be carefully taken into consideration, since some of them can cause danger to the life inside your womb. However, you can never say no to a fever nor pain when they strike during your pregnancy period. At this certain point, can you consider paracetamol in pregnancy harmless? Like taking any medications, before taking paracetamol, it is important to talk it over with a medical professional to ensure that it is safe for you and for your baby.

Is Paracetamol in Pregnancy Safe?

This medicine in pregnancy is considered safe generally. Physicians have recommended using paracetamol in pregnancy for those who have fever and experienced pain. Many pregnant women have used paracetamol and there was no evidence of untoward effects to the baby inside the womb.

However, you should take note when there are certain medications which paracetamol are combined with to treat some diseases, such as coughs and flu. In these cases, you should ensure that the other component combined with paracetamol is also safe to be use during pregnancy.

Keep Within Safe Doses

Even if paracetamol does not contain anything that is dangerous for a pregnant woman, it is still important that you only take recommended doses of it and check with your physician about those other medicines that you take along with it.

The usual maximum dose during normal occasions is one or two tablets (500-1000 mg) every four to six hours round-the-clock. But since you are pregnant, your doctor will advise you to take only the minimum dose. As said earlier, there are certain paracetamols being combined with other medicine components and you might confusingly go over the allowable dosage. That is one of the primary reasons why you need to consult your physician about the medicines that you are taking to ensure that there are no overlapping of dosage and the right amount is taken correctly.

Detailed Explanation of the Effects of Paracetamol in Pregnancy

Paracetamol is generally safe as there is no increase on the possibility of pregnancy problems such as still birth, premature birth, low birth weight and miscarriage. But there are some studies showing possible negative effects of paracetamol.

  • Baby defect. It is common knowledge that most of the fetus' internal organs are developed during the first trimester of the pregnancy. If you have seen a baby with a birth defect, it is possible that the mother have taken a medicine during her first trimester that lead to the defect.

As for paracetamol, a study conducted by some scientists in Edinburg showed that paracetamol does lower testosterone levels and can affect male fetus, causing them to have undescended testes. This study was conducted using mice models and since animals process things differently from human beings, some scientists questioned the validity of this study. Given that no studies are made to show that it actually affects pregnant women, paracetamol is still considered safe to use.

  • Learning or behavioral problem in the future. Since the brain develops during all stages of pregnancy, any medications taken during the pregnancy period may affect the baby’s learning and behavioural development.

There are some studies conducted to see the effects of paracetamol in pregnancy. Several studies are made to see if there is a link between taking paracetamol and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These studies showed different results with some saying that there are possible effects and some who concluded that there are no possible effects to the learning and behavioral development of the baby. Due to the varying results of the studies conducted, it is important to do more studies to properly answer the effects of paracetamol on the child’s learning and behaviour.

  • Other health problems. There are also some studies conducted to show the effects of paracetamol on other medical conditions, such as asthma. Some studies show that a baby exposed to paracetamol while inside the mother’s womb have chances of developing asthma during childhood and have wheezing episodes. But some studies refute this idea and there is no concrete evidence which relates asthma to the use of paracetamol in pregnancy. It is a possible cause; however, those women who took paracetamol while pregnant have asthma condition usually running on their family genes.

Try Home Remedies Instead of Using Paracetamol in Pregnancy

Though there is no concrete evidence that the use of paracetamol in pregnancy really results to some untoward effects, it is still better to try natural remedies to help reduce fever and alleviate pain at first (the main purpose of using paracetamol). These natural remedies are relatively safe and have no side effects for you and your baby.

1.     Reduce Fever

If you want to use paracetamol in pregnancy for dealing with fever, try these home remedies first:

  • Consult your doctor or midwife when you have fever so that underlying causes can be treated.
  • Indulge yourself in a lukewarm bath to help lower your body temperature.
  • Place a cool, damped washcloth on your forehead to help reduce your body temperature.
  • Increase fluid intake by drinking water, electrolyte drinks, vitamin C juices and even warm broths or soups.
  • Have plenty of rest. Just like any other sickness, fever also requires you to rest your body to gain back your strength.
  • Never wear too many layers of clothing. One layer of light fabric that is breathable is enough to maintain good air circulation.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins to ensure that you keep your immune system healthy.

2.     Relieve Pain

As for dealing with pain during pregnancy, the following tips may be helpful. 

  • Prenatal massage is the best natural therapy for back pain and hip discomfort.
  • Apply arnica gel to help lessen back pains and joint swelling.
  • Frankincense essential oil will help reduce headaches and sore joints.
  • Apply warm compress on your forehead, eyes and cheeks to help alleviate sinus headache.
  • Apply cold compress on the base of your neck to treat tension aches and pains.
  • Have a prenatal yoga class.
  • Chiropractic care from a professional practitioner will help reduce pain.
  • Try acupuncture.