Ibuprofen is a over the counter medication available without a prescription used for the treatment of headaches, muscle pain, inflammation, and menstrual cramps. At lower doses it exhibits analgesic properties and with high doses it is noticeably able to reduce inflammation as well. It is not recommended for long term use due to its adverse effects upon the gastrointestinal system of many patients as well as for the additional strain it has been seen to put upon the liver. Due to pain or headaches often experienced during pregnancy many women take ibuprofen to alleviate symptoms. It is however not recommended to take any pain relievers for extended periods of time while pregnant and ibuprofen is best avoided especially during the latter parts of pregnancy.
Ibuprofen during first two trimesters of pregnancy
Any medication taken while pregnant can be transferred to the developing fetus increasing the chance of birth defects or miscarriage. For this reason it is best to be cautious when taking any medication while pregnant. Many studies have shown though that taking ibuprofen early on in pregnancy should not be harmful to either the mother or the baby. For those that are experiencing morning sickness it may be best to avoid taking ibuprofen as it may lead to further unpleasant stomach irritation. There have however been a few studies which have shown that ibuprofen may in fact interact with the implantation of the fetus early on in pregnancy resulting in increased chances of a miscarriage. Some conservative doctors therefore caution against use of ibuprofen during early pregnancy and in those trying to get pregnant. In general though it is considered relatively safe to take ibuprofen in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. It should be noted that doses should not exceed 200mg as higher doses of ibuprofen may increase the chance of a miscarriage or birth defects.
Ibuprofen during last trimester of pregnancy
Ibuprofen has been shown to be harmful in the last trimester of pregnancy and should be avoided. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs may cause a serious condition in the fetus at this stage in the pregnancy. One concern is that ibuprofen can cause closer of the ductus arteriosus which is a vessel that when closed will lead to an increase in blood pressure within the lungs of the fetus. If this happens it increases the chances that the baby will be born with heart or lung defects. In general a small dose of ibuprofen is not going to cause this condition. It is only a very high dose or extensive use during the third trimester which will lead to this condition developing.
Ibuprofen and breastfeeding
In general it is safe to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding. Amounts of ibuprofen taken while breastfeeding however should be kept low as a certain percentage of the medication will be transferred to the baby through the breast milk but this percentage is very low. Medical professional across the board have approved ibuprofen to be taken by women during pregnancy. However just to be safe it is not recommended to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding for extended periods of time as the effects of extended use of ibuprofen while breastfeeding are unknown.