Taking Excedrin During Pregnancy
Headache pain affects many pregnant women and can be draining and debilitating. Some people may find relief using over-the-counter pain relievers like Excedrin. In general, Excedrin is considered safe at low doses and with occasional use during pregnancy.
Is It Safe?
Excedrin contains a combination of two drugs: acetaminophen and aspirin. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the use of acetaminophen at recommended doses is considered safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Acetaminophen is often used to treat fever and headaches during pregnancy.
Aspirin, however, is generally not recommended during pregnancy unless you are specifically directed to take it by your doctor. Taking aspirin during pregnancy has been linked to rare, but very serious, negative effects on the developing fetus. These risks increase with high, daily doses, and may include:
- Birth defects
- Bleeding in the mother or baby
Excedrin contains both aspirin and acetaminophen, which could pose potential risks to the fetus if taken daily and at high doses. As such, use of Excedrin during pregnancy is not recommended without a doctor’s approval.
If you’re one of many pregnant women suffering from headaches, your primary care provider may be able to recommend an alternative pain reliever that’s safe for you and your baby. Other safe medicines for treating headaches during pregnancy include:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
If you experience frequent and more severe headaches during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend an imaging test such as an X-ray or MRI for proper diagnosis. Your provider may also explore lifestyle changes as safer alternatives for treating headaches, such as:
- Stress management: Practices like yoga, meditation, or simply taking some time to relax can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
- Exercise: Low-impact exercise may reduce the intensity of headaches.
- Sleep: Making sure that you get enough sleep can help reduce headaches.
- Massage: Massaging the tense and aching muscles in the neck and shoulders can often bring relief.
If the use of Excedrin or another pain reliever is needed, talk to your doctor about your options and the potential risks associated with their use. Make sure to follow their instructions and keep track of any side effects. In most cases, pregnant women can take steroids and other medications for short-term relief of their headache pain if needed.
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