Media reports that pregnant women who take painkillers could harm the fertility of their babies

We take a look behind the headlines about paracetamol and ibuprofen use in pregnancy.

Pregnancy and painkillers

Pregnancy blog by Tommy's midwife Sophie, 16/04/2018

“Pregnant women who take painkillers may be harming the fertility of their unborn sons as well as daughters, researchers have warned,” reports the Mail Online.

Medical research is being updated all of the time, and with new pregnancy studies in the news every week it can be hard to know which sources to trust. Not to mention all of the dos and don’ts.

Today, we’re going behind the headline of the Mail Online’s article about the use of painkillers in pregnancy that links the potential risks of paracetamol and ibuprofen use with reduced fertility for the unborn baby later in life.

We recognise that many women need to take paracetamol during pregnancy to relieve a wide range of symptoms and understand that the types of medication deemed safe to take during pregnancy is quite limited.

We would always recommend taking advice from your obstetric doctor, midwife or medical professional when deciding what medication to take during pregnancy. If their advice is to take certain medication, the risk of not taking it could be greater.

For example, taking paracetamol for a fever is vitally important, as fever itself has far more ill-effects to both mother and baby than taking paracetamol for a short period of time.

We know that research is changing the medical world all the time, but we only publish the latest studies from reputable sources such as NHS England, RCOG, the RCM, and Tommy's research centres. This way, you can be sure that you are reading trusted research that is based on real statistics.

So, don’t deny yourself pain relief if you have been advised to take it by your healthcare team, and listen to advice that is based on your individual circumstances.

Pregnancy advice you can trust

Always ask your midwife or GP to get their advice on medication first, or anything else you're worried about. Together you can make an informed decision about what is right for you based on your medical history and pregnancy notes.

For the latest pregnancy research and information you can trust, visit Tommy's safer pregnancy information, NHS Choices, the Royal College of Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

Find out how we produce our information.

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