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Can I Take Ibuprofen While Pregnant?
Updated on
November 22, 2023

Can I Take Ibuprofen While Pregnant?

By Babylist Staff | Medically Reviewed by Christine Sterling M.D.
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Can I Take Ibuprofen While Pregnant?

From your head all the way to your feet, sometimes it feels like there isn’t a single body part that doesn’t ache at some point during pregnancy. But just because they’re an expected part of being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to suffer through all those pains—you deserve relief, and fast.

With all the different pain relief options out there, you might be wondering if ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin or generic) is on the list of ones to take while pregnant.

Can I Take Ibuprofen while Pregnant?

“Use of ibuprofen during pregnancy is NOT recommended,” says Dr. Nateya Carrington, ob-gyn and founder of Radiance Women’s Center. “This is because ibuprofen use in pregnancy is linked to reduced blood flow to the fetal kidneys, low amniotic fluid levels and premature closure of important vascular structures in the fetal heart.”

In short: Consider other pain relief options instead.

Note: NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in general are not recommended for pregnant people, so that also includes aspirin (like Bayer) and naproxen (like Aleve). That said, asprin in sometimes prescribed for other health conditions during pregnancy and should only be used when recommended or prescribed by your doctor.

If you feel you may need medicine to help with your pain, talk to your doctor before taking any medications.

What is Pregnancy-Safe Pain Relief?

So what can you do to feel better? Whether it’s a headache, back ache or all-over ache, don’t worry—there are (non-pharmaceutical) pain treatment options that doctors widely consider to be safe for pregnancy.

Treating General Pain

Full-body pain can sometimes be solved with full-body treatment, including relaxation techniques. To relax muscles that are tense from carrying around a (heavy) pregnant belly all day, Dr. Kristin Lasseter, reproductive psychiatrist at Clinic of Austin, suggests these treatments:

  • Massage therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Acupuncture
  • Mindfulness meditation

Treating Back Pain During Pregnancy

Back pain in general can sometimes be attributed to poor posture, and with loosening ligaments and anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds gained over just a few months, it’s no wonder that pregnant people can end up with less-than-perfect posture. If back (and hip) aches are bothering you, especially in the third trimester, try these techniques for pain relief:

Treating Headaches Pregnancy

You might notice more headaches showing up as soon as the first trimester thanks to hormones and blood volume, both of which are increasing to support your pregnancy. Thankfully, there are several tried-and-true pain relief methods doctors recommend:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to reduce the risk of low blood sugar
  • For sinus headaches, place a warm compress around your nose and eyes
  • For tension headaches, place a cold compress or ice pack at the back of your neck


  • Dr. Nateya Carrington: Ob-gyn and founder of Radiance Women’s Center
  • FDA: FCA recommends avoiding NSAIDS during 20 weeks or later:
  • Stanford Children’s Health: Headaches and Pregnancy:
  • Hopkins Medicine: Sleep and Pregnancy:
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: How much water should I drink?

Babylist Staff

Babylist editors and writers are parents themselves and have years of experience writing and researching, coming from media outlets like Motherly, the SF Chronicle, the New York Times and the Daily Beast, and the fields of early childhood education and publishing. We research and test hundreds of products, survey real Babylist parents and consult reviews in order to recommend the best products and gear for your growing family.

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