Ibuprofen Use During Pregnancy: What Pregnant Women Should Know

can you take ibuprofen when pregnant

If you are currently in your pregnancy, then you know you are warned of various chemicals not to take for the safety of your baby. Some chemicals or medicines are not advisable for pregnant women, others are specific on the stages of pregnancy. One of the questions is can you take ibuprofen when pregnant? Why and why not? In this article, I will tell you how and why. You won’t be asking yourselves or other people over and over again.

Is Ibuprofen Safe For Pregnant Women?

Ibuprofen is usually sold in brand names like Motrin and Advil and is a pain killer or pain reliever. It reduces the hormones that cause pain and inflammation in the body. This drug is used to fever, inflammation and pain caused by a toothache, headache, minor injuries and back pain.

This drug has been assigned to a “pregnancy risk category” by FDA or U.S. Food and Drug Administration. During your 3rd trimester, the drug is considered a category D. What does this mean? It means that when you take ibuprofen, there would be a significant amount of danger and harm to your baby.

Why is this?

Ibuprofen can also cause closure of ductus arteriosus. Before the baby is born, its blood vessel called ductus arteriosus. It should stay open to be able to receive a supply of oxygen and nutrients from the mother. After birth, the vessel closes to allow the blood flow to the baby through its lungs to be able to breathe. Taking ibuprofen will lead to the closure of ductus arteriosus, leading to premature delivery.

There are a lot of researches that show that ibuprofen might cause a passage in the heart of your baby. It will close prematurely that will either lead to lung damage or heart damage, and even death. According to Canadian Medical Association Journal, taking any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs like ibuprofen creates an extra risk of abortion.

Taking the drug in your 3rd trimester has also been linked to high blood pressure on the newborn’s lungs and low amniotic fluid levels or also known as oligohydramnios.


Oligohydramnios cause the following complications:

  • Under-developed lungs (amniotic fluid is important while the baby is still in the womb because it helps in developing and expanding the lungs, and little amount of this fluid will likely lead to under-developed lungs)
  • Under-developed bladder (urine helps to develop and expand the bladder)
  • Misshapen leg and skull bones (amniotic fluid does a lot of ‘cushioning’ of the baby)
  • Flattened facial features (amniotic fluid does a lot of ‘cushioning’ of the baby)
  • Compression of umbilical cord (this result to decreased blood flow in the womb from the mother to the baby)

Why is it not safe?

The things mentioned above are the primary reasons but this medication can also prolong or delay your labor or will increase your bleeding. There are also evidence that suggest that taking ibuprofen will increase the chance of having a miscarriage, especially if taken in the first month of pregnancy.

Also, there are studies that show that pregnant women who have taken up ibuprofen are at an increased risk of giving birth to a baby who weighs less than 2500g. Taking the medicine can also have a lasting effect on the baby since it undergoes development throughout the pregnancy, and there is a possibility of an effect on a child’s behavior or learning.

It is better to understand that all medicines the mother takes will cross the placenta before reaching the baby. There are medicines which have good effects on the baby but there are also numerous others which don’t and can cause only harm.

If you have an illness or allergies which can be cured by a certain medicine, go to your doctor and have yourself checked. There are also medicines that have an effect on certain stages of pregnancy. If you also buy one, check if it is in pregnancy risk category.

However, what can you do if you need painkillers? To be safer, you can look for this certain drug called Acetaminophen because the medical history says that this medication is safe to take during your pregnancy.

If you didn’t know that the effects of ibuprofen could be worse as mentioned above. Besides, you have taken few dosages already, it’s better to see your doctor right away.


I hope that I provided you helpful information regarding if you can take ibuprofen during pregnancy or not. Remember, if taking a medicine weigh in if it will improve the health of the baby or not. Clearly, ibuprofen won’t. As much as possible, avoid taking this painkiller because again, there might be a lot of harmful effects.

If you have questions, please leave it in the comment section below and I will respond immediately.

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