Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

February 1, 2019

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?
Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

When you’re pregnant, anything you consume is for two (or more if you’re having multiples!). That’s why so many moms-to-be focus on getting balanced nutrition, taking a prenatal vitamin and avoiding common, over-the-counter medications like Tylenol.

But what should you do when you have a relentless backache (thanks, baby bump!) or a hormone-triggered headache that just won’t quit? Pregnancy often comes with a lot of normal, but annoying, aches and pains.

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

Tylenol is a pain reliever that contains the drug acetaminophen. Doctors frequently recommend pregnant women take the medication to treat occasional mild to moderate pain or to reduce a fever during any trimester during their pregnancy.

In fact, about 65% of women have used acetaminophen at some point during pregnancy. It’s considered safer than other over-the-counter options like ibuprofen or aspirin, which have been linked to birth defects. But be sure not to combine Tylenol (or other brands of acetaminophen) with other medications without running it by your healthcare provider.

Tylenol Extra Strength During Pregnancy

Tylenol Extra Strength is generally considered safe during pregnancy, but it contains a higher dosage of acetaminophen. You can take the recommended dosage for adults while you’re pregnant (2 caplets every 6 hours while symptoms last) and don’t take more than 6 caplets in 24 hours).

Tylenol PM During Pregnancy

Tylenol PM is actually a combination of two drugs: acetaminophen and diphenhydramine (better known as the antihistamine that’s in things like Benadryl). Both drugs are considered safe for short-term, occasional use while pregnant. The suggested dosage for adults is 2 caplets at bedtime, with no more than 2 caplets in a 24-hour period.

If you’re having a lot of trouble sleeping or experiencing frequent insomnia, be sure to talk with your doctor to find ways of helping you get the rest you need.

Tylenol While Pregnant: Risks & Concerns

While acetaminophen is considered the safest pain reliever to take while pregnant, it’s not without some risks. Emerging research suggests a possible association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and a small increase in the likelihood of asthma, ADHD and autism in children.

However, the studies aren’t considered strong evidence since many were done in animals and often at much higher doses than normal, or through self-reports by women who took Tylenol during pregnancy. So at this point, there’s no proof that appropriate acetaminophen use negatively impacts babies. To be safe though, experts recommend taking the lowest dose for the shortest possible time or trying alternative ways to relieve pain first.

How to Relieve Headaches and Back Pain Naturally During Pregnancy

Two of the most common complaints during pregnancy are headaches and back pain (along with round ligament pain). If you’d like to avoid using medication, consider trying these natural ways to ease discomfort:

  • Stretches or prenatal yoga: Gentle exercises release tension and strengthen the muscles that support your baby bump, helping to relieve back pain. The focus on deep breathing in yoga can also help reduce tension headaches.
  • Meditation: Practicing regular meditation—even if it’s just for a few minutes a day—can lower your stress level and reduce the pain and frequency of headaches. Getting an app like Expectful (a pregnancy-specific meditation app), Calm or Headspace can help make it easy to do.
  • Hot or cold packs: Hot packs can relieve pain from sinus headaches as well as general muscle aches, while cold packs may work better for tension headaches.
  • Prenatal massage: This form of massage for pregnant women relaxes tight muscles and can lower stress levels, which can be helpful for many pregnancy aches and pains.
  • Belly belts: These rigid belts help support your baby bump and take pressure off your back.
  • Water: Dehydration can sometimes cause headaches. Be sure to drink lots of water and snack on foods high in water content, like watermelon, cucumbers and celery.
  • Body pillows: Using a pregnancy pillow between your legs when you lie on your side reduces pressure on the lower back. Many moms also use pillows to cushion their baby bump or put it behind their backs for extra support when they sleep.

These home remedies for pain relief can be a big help. But if you’re experiencing severe or frequent pain or have a fever, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor. They can provide pain-relief suggestions and guidance on over-the-counter medications, and be sure that what you’re experiencing isn’t part of a bigger issue. Plus, being reassured by your doctor that everything you’re doing is safe for your little one is a great stress reliever.

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