The writing on the wall is that it is not recommended to take Ibuprofen during pregnancy. However it all depends on what stage of pregnancy are you in right now. It is advised by the Medicines & Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that Ibuprofen is not advisable in the first two trimesters. If risk to fetus is less significant as compared to the risk to mother as the case may be and diagnosed by the Obstetrician in rare cases Ibuprofen can be taken. Ibuprofen is an Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory drug ( NSAID) and may cause complications during pregnancy.
Paracetamol as compared to Ibuprofen is safer choice for Pyrexia or common Fever as it is not known to cause any contraindications to pregnancy. And most Obstetricians choose Paracetamol to Ibuprofen as a pain killer or suppressing high temperature. For the matter of fact, it is strictly advised to get supervised by your Obstetrician or a GP for taking any drug during pregnancy. Taking Ibuprofen during first to thirteenth week is extremely dangerous and should be avoided as it may cause miscarriage or cause to develop heart diseases in the fetus. Another problem with taking Ibuprofen in pregnancy is that it can cause abnormalities in the baby such as ‘Cleft Palate’ or complications in the Abdominal Wall.
However, there is no proven evidence that Ibuprofen causes the above complications, but you should definitely stay on the safer side. Never try to under estimate the advice of your Obstetrician or Midwife. The later week of pregnancy being 14th to 27th week (Second Trimester) as compared to the early stages is considered to be safer and can tolerate Ibuprofen. But that too should be restricted and cannot be taken continuously or daily. It should be restricted to manage pain or inflammation only. For everything else there is Paracetamol which is safe during all stages of pregnancy but, the rule is the same again. The consumption should be minimal and only on ‘SOS’ basis.
Now, I come to the 3rd trimester – this stage is again a dangerous stage for Ibuprofen because the fetus has developed enough to absorb a part of the Ibuprofen from mother. It could cause complications such as Cardiac Complications or Hypertension in the fetus or unborn baby. Another major cause of concern is that it could complicate the lungs of fetus and lead to complicated labor at the final stage as it reduces the quantity of Amniotic Fluid on which the fetus floats.
Post 28th week of pregnancy, it is a bit safe to take Ibuprofen that too under strict observation of your Obstetrician only. When you are on Ibuprofen at any time of pregnancy irrespective of any other complications, you should be under medical supervision and let your Obstetrician know that you are on it. If you already have taken Ibuprofen due ignorance of the complication it could cause, don’t panic. It’s not as dangerous that you need to pluck it out. Taking it occasionally should normally not harm your unborn baby. Always, take Paracetamol to Ibuprofen to manage pain, inflammation or fever during pregnancy. Above all never take medication during pregnancy without an obstetrician’s advice.