Painkillers taken during pregnancy could cause miscarriages

 
By Shayna Brouker • Published: December 21st, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Moms-to-be face a laundry list of continual discomfort and pains leading up to the big push: swollen feet, an aching back, headaches and even inflamed gums. But before you reach for the ibuprofen, know this: A new study from the University of Montreal found that the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen during early pregnancy was linked to a higher risk of miscarriage. N-S-A-I-Ds [N-seds] include prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

Researchers found that of the 52,000 pregnant women in the study, those who had at least one prescription for an N-S-A-I-D were more than twice as likely to lose the pregnancy before the 20th week of gestation than those who did not. They compared each of the women who miscarried with 10 others of the same age who were still pregnant. Of the women who lost their pregnancies, about 8 percent had filled at least one N-S-A-I-D prescription. Among the women who did not miscarry, only about 3 percent had filled an N-S-A-I-D prescription.

The risk was independent of whether the drug was prescribed or bought over the counter.

But there are some caveats to the study. Association does not necessarily imply causation. And just because women got a prescription for the drug doesn’t mean they actually took it. Other factors could have contributed to the miscarriage.

Despite the study’s drawbacks, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to you and your baby. If pregnancy pains become intolerable, talk to your doctor about acetaminophen, like Tylenol. Or try natural remedies like a hot bath, acupuncture or massage. If nothing else, put your partner to work and take advantage of obligatory free foot rubs.