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Can you take ibuprofen while pregnant?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on July 6, 2021.

Official answer


No, you should not take ibuprofen during the first 20 weeks of your pregnancy unless advised to do so by your doctor. You should not take ibuprofen at all from week 20 of pregnancy (the last half of your pregnancy).

The reasons you should not take ibuprofen during pregnancy are:

  • Ibuprofen is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage if used early in pregnancy
  • Ibuprofen inhibits prostaglandins, which are hormone-like compounds that have several different effects in the body, including stimulating the uterus to contract, narrowing or opening up blood vessels, or influencing blood clotting to prevent bleeding
  • Ibuprofen that has been taken in the last half of pregnancy (from week 20 onwards) has been associated with kidney problems in the fetus or newly born baby, and premature constriction or closure of the ductus arteriosus (this is an opening in an unborn baby's heart that allows blood to detour away from the lungs before birth. At birth it is supposed to close).

Do not take ibuprofen or other NSAIDs (examples include diclofenac or naproxen) in the last half of your pregnancy (from week 20 onwards). If you have mistakenly or inadvertently taken these medications, see your doctor, obstetrician, or midwife immediately because your unborn baby requires close monitoring to look for any narrowing of the ductus arteriosus, or kidney problems. There have been reports of these problems also occurring in pregnant women who have used topical NSAIDs (like diclofenac gel) in their last trimester of pregnancy.

As a treatment for mild-to-moderate pain during pregnancy, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is considered the drug of choice.

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