Can You Take Aleve While Pregnant?

Manage Your Pain Safely During Pregnancy

No matter how great the joys during pregnancy, there are bound to be days of discomfort. Whether it’s back pain, headaches or muscle cramps, your body will yearn for relief. It likely won't be long before you seek to find a solution on the drugstore shelves or your very own medicine cabinet. Aleve is a common pain reliever, but before you reach for it, find out whether it’s the right medicine for your condition.

What Is Aleve

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Aleve, also known as naproxen, falls into the classification of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). These medications work by preventing the body from producing natural chemicals called prostaglandins, which are responsible for pain and inflammation. Aleve also is a fever reducer and is often used to treat arthritis pain in addition to headaches, backaches and general swelling and muscle soreness. While NSAIDs are tough on pain, they also are tough on stomachs. Side effects of taking this medication include upset stomach and even ulcers, which is one reason why prolonged use of Aleve is not recommended.

Aleve and Pregnancy

In relation to pregnancy, Aleve falls into drug category C, which means animal reproductive studies have shown the medication is harmful to a developing fetus. While no conclusive human studies have occurred, medications in category C are advised only when it’s clear the benefits outweigh the risks. Web MD explains that Aleve is not recommended during the first 30 weeks of pregnancy due to miscarriage risk. According to a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the risk of miscarriage is 2.4 times greater for women who took any type and dosage of non-aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at the beginning of their pregnancy. If you are pregnant, it is advised that you steer clear of taking Aleve or any other NSAID unless specifically directed by your doctor.

Alternatives to Aleve

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Doctors recommend taking Tylenol or acetaminophen as needed for pain, as opposed to NSAIDs. Take up to 650 mg every four hours for fever, headaches and other aches and pains, but do not exceed 4,000 mg in a 24-hour period. This medication can be taken during any trimester of pregnancy, but be sure to consult your physician regarding what pain relief is right for you. Also consider easing aches and pains by placing a heating pad on the affected area or a soak in an Epsom-salt tub if you’d prefer to stay away from medication all together.