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Medication

Is Advil safe to take when pregnant?

Posted by Lara Salahi February 3, 2014 12:01 PM

When I’m asked what the most challenging part of my pregnancy was, I say without hesitation: headaches.

A headache didn’t come on often, but when it did, it was so painful I could barely open my eyes or keep my head up. Any form of light was so piercing that I’d have to pull the shades down and lay in bed for hours with my eyes closed.

While I didn’t experience the same intensity of headaches before pregnancy, I knew that if I had ever gotten one then, an Advil or Motrin would often do the trick. For pregnant women however, the medicine cabinet can quickly become a tricky maze of “take this, not that.” That’s because with pregnancy comes a whole host of restrictions on medications you can take, from certain pain relievers to antidepressants.

Headaches were the most debilitating part of my pregnancy and came on strongest during the first and the start of the second trimester. In general, most pregnant women are told by their physicians that during that period of their pregnancy they can safely take acetaminophen, or Tylenol, to treat any pain conditions, including headaches. Physicians tell women that other common pain medications such as Advil and Motrin, known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), are off-limits at any point during pregnancy. But should they be?  

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About the author

Lara Salahi is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose specialty is reporting health and medical stories. She has worked in local, network, and cable television, international print, and documentary film. She More »

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