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Pregnancy pain relief

Written by Caidr's team of doctors and pharmacists based in UK | Updated: 26.01.2023 | 2 min read

Not all medications are safe in pregnancy. This is because some medication can cross the placenta and reach the baby. This makes it important to ensure that the medication you are taking doesn’t harm your unborn child and it is always best to speak to your doctor or pharmacist to check that. All painkillers should be taken at the lowest dose necessary, striking a balance between harm to baby and effect on mother. Painkillers are a common medication needed through the many stages of pregnancy, and the Caidr medical team are here to talk you through the options.

What are non-medical pain relief treatments in pregnancy?

We would always encourage all pregnant women to try non-medical pain relief first. This could be rest, hot and cold compress, massage by a professional, physiotherapy and light exercise to see if that helps to alleviate some of the symptoms. If this doesn’t help then we can move onto the medications.

What should I start with?

The first line painkiller and the one that is safe throughout all three trimesters is paracetamol. This doesn’t cause any harm to the baby. Just be sure to take no more than the maximum of eight tablets daily.

Pharmacist recommended products

What about ibuprofen?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, should be avoided unless it is clinically indicated by the doctor or a specialist for a migraine in the first trimester only. After the first trimester, this needs to be stopped as it increases risks to your baby.

Is there anything stronger?

Opioid class of medications, such as codeine, tramadol and morphine should only be taken on the advice of a doctor or midwife but are usually safe to take during pregnancy. During labour and delivery, they are less safe as It can cause sedating effects on the baby. 

Related topics

Read about What pain relief is safe in pregnancy?

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