The short answer:
There is no clear evidence that ibuprofen can cause miscarriage at 1 week. However, ibuprofen administration after 20 weeks of gestation (during the second and third trimesters) is associated with birth defects and even miscarriage.
- Ibuprofen is an NSAID that is commonly used to relieve pain and inflammation.
- There is no evidence that ibuprofen can cause a 1-week miscarriage.
- The administration of Ibuprofen during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy can lead to underdeveloped lungs, joint contractions, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
- The prenatal administration of other NSAIDs such as aspirin was found to be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
- Ibuprofen is safe to be taken with breastfeeding.
- You can take paracetamol during pregnancy as a safe painkiller
- You must ask your doctor before taking any medications during pregnancy.
What is Ibuprofen and its indications during pregnancy?
Ibuprofen is a pain killer that belongs to a group of medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which are among the most widely used drugs in the developed world and are often used by pregnant women (Ref).
It is commonly prescribed as an analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory agent in conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and acutely painful musculoskeletal conditions (Ref).
Why do pregnant women use NSAIDs?
The NSAIDs are among the most common medicines used by pregnant women. These medications are commonly used for the following cases (Ref):
- Headaches and migraines often occur during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
- Inflammatory conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system usually arise later in pregnancy.
- Women with rheumatologic disorders often continue or initiate NSAID therapy during pregnancy
Does Ibuprofen cause miscarriage at 1 week?
There is no clear evidence that the use of ibuprofen during the first week or even the first trimester can cause miscarriage or birth defects.
A study published in 2018 in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology investigated the adverse effects of Ibuprofen administration during the 1st trimester. Data were retrieved from the German Embryotoxic database. In that study, 1117 women exposed to ibuprofen in the 1st trimester were compared to 2229 non-exposed women. Results showed that:
- Ibuprofen administration during the 1st trimester was not associated with a significant increase in the risk of birth defects.
- The cumulative incidences of spontaneous abortions were similar in both groups treated with ibuprofen and the nontreated group.
- The authors recommended that Ibuprofen can be considered an analgesic and antipyretic of choice in the 1st trimester. However, it should be avoided in the 3rd trimester.
- Further studies are still needed to confirm the safety of ibuprofen administration during early pregnancy.
Interestingly, an ex-vivo study showed that ibuprofen exposure during the first trimester is deleterious for ovarian germ cells.
Moreover, another study evaluated whether prenatal use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin) is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage or not. In this study, 1055 pregnant women were included and interviewed immediately after their positive pregnancy test. The median gestational age at entry to the study was 40 days. Results showed that the prenatal uses of NSAID (aspirin) was associated with an 80% increased risk of miscarriage. However, the prenatal use of paracetamol was not associated with an increased risk of miscarriage regardless of timing and duration of use.
Does Ibuprofen cause birth defects?
Ibuprofen is found to cause birth defects when it is taken by pregnant women during the 2nd (week 13 to week 26 of pregnancy) and 3rd trimester (starting from week 27 to week 40 of pregnancy.
It can lead to the following:
- After 20 weeks of pregnancy, the kidney of your baby starts to make amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the baby). Therefore, Ibuprofen can lead to the following:
- Ibuprofen can decrease the amniotic fluid leading to oligohydramnios.
- Oligohydramnios means that the amniotic fluid is decreased to a level that can cause underdeveloped lungs, skeletal problems such as joint contractures (joints can become stiff or unable to move), miscarriage, and stillbirth (death or loss of a baby before or during delivery).
- It also can affect the heart and circulation of the baby which may affect the baby’s life.
- Ibuprofen during the third trimester can cause premature closure of the ductus arteriosus (a vessel that runs from the pulmonary artery to the aorta). This could cause pulmonary hypertension (elevated lung blood pressure) (Ref).
- Ibuprofen can also slow down the labor or even stop the labor.
- The use of ibuprofen in the 2nd trimester was significantly associated with low birth weight (Ref).
- Ibuprofen use in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters was significantly associated with asthma in 18–month–old children (Ref).
Does ibuprofen affect women’s fertility?
Few studies reported that Ibuprofen can increase the risk of one type of temporary female infertility called unruptured follicle syndrome. In this condition, the follicle, in which the egg grows, fails to release an egg at the time of ovulation. The daily use of NSAIDs increases the risk of incidence of unruptured follicle syndrome.
In contrast, another study found that the low doses of ibuprofen in the peri-ovulatory period do not inhibit ovulation but may be associated with increased preovulatory follicular diameter.
What is the safest painkiller during pregnancy?
All NSAIDs should be avoided during pregnancy. They can lead to harmful effects on the pregnant women or babies themselves.
The drug of choice for pain during pregnancy is paracetamol. However, it is advised to take the lowest doses and take it only if essentially needed. Of course, you should ask your doctor about the doses and the safety of paracetamol for your case.
Is ibuprofen safe for breastfeeding?
It is known that Ibuprofen can pass into breastmilk even in small amounts. However, Ibuprofen is safe for breastfeeding.
Several studies showed that the administration of ibuprofen with breastfeeding was not associated with any adverse effects in lactating babies (Ref).
It’s advised to consult your healthcare provider before taking it.