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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Analgesics and antipyretic (Narcotic)

Analgesics and antipyretic (Narcotic)

Let us take a look at the effects of taking analgesics and antipyretic medicines during pregnancy.

Many women fear that if during pregnancy they suffer from any kind of pain, they will have to continue suffering because taking medicine is not safe at that time both for the child and for themselves as well. Well, this is not completely true. Medical science is advanced enough to reassure women that they need not suffer unnecessarily during pregnancy and lactation period. In reality, if appropriate doses of the analgesics and antipyretic (narcotic) medicines are given, they are not associated with increased cases of birth defects.  Let us take a look at some of the analgesics and antipyretic (narcotic) medicines.

Codeine (Corex)

These drugs are mainly used for the relief of moderate to severe pain. These are liable to lead to dependence. They may cause respiratory depression in the newborn infant.  Therefore, during the last 2-3 hours before expected delivery, these products are best avoided.

Products: Codeine
For Children: Should be avoided for below 1 year
For Pregnant Women: Caution - may adversely affect the baby's breathing if taken during labour
For Breastfeeding Mothers: To be used with caution
Contra-indications*: In liver and kidney dysfunction
Caution: Being a narcotic, it can be habit-forming


Narcotic analgesics like Morphine may cause respiratory depression in the newborn infant.  Therefore, during the last 2-3 hours before expected delivery, these products are best avoided. 

Products: Morphine
For Children: Contra-indicated in children below 12 years
For Pregnant Women: Contra-indicated. Depresses neo-natal respiration
For Breastfeeding Mothers: Use if clearly indicated
Contra-indications*: In liver and kidney dysfunction
Caution: Hyper-thyroidism

Reasons of Pain during Pregnancy

During pregnancy the immune system becomes weak and so women get infected and affected by many things very easily. They get fever and suffer from diseases as a result of that. Pain can be due to many reasons during pregnancy. It can be due to injury or infection or if the patient is undergoing any medical disorder like rheumatoid arthritis. Pain can also be due to pregnancy. It does not matter what the reason is, but if the pain is not treated it may lead to depression and anxiety which has impact on physical and mental health of the woman and can anyway have adverse effect on her pregnancy also.

Relatively Safer Analgesics and Antipyretic Narcotic Drugs

Paracetamol, aspirin, opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not just commonly used to treat pain during pregnancy and lactation period, but are also relatively safe as well. However, these medicines should not be taken during pregnancy without the prescription of an obstetrician. Usually, women and their health professionals analyse different parameters along with the background of the patient and the family before treating pain. The doctors would weigh up the potential risks involved and then decide whether the pregnant woman should be given medicine for pain or not.


Paracetamol is one of the most common medicines taken for pain and fever. Even though it crosses the placenta, it is not related to any birthdefects or any other adverse pregnancy results. But it should not be taken without an obstetrician’s prescription during pregnancy.


Aspirin is often used to treat mild pain and fever. It is also prescribed by some obstetricians to women who suffer from recurrent miscarriages and antiphospholipid syndrome. Aspirin is not associated with any kind of congenital malformations. Only in very small number of cases there has been risk of gastroschisis. So, avoid taking it without your obstetrician’s prescription.


Opioid analgesics are prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Studies have shown that opioid analgesics are so far not related to any increase in birth defects or other adverse effects on pregnancy like miscarriage. But it should be taken only if prescribed by an obstetrician during pregnancy.


NSAIDS include ibuprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin and naproxen. Most of these medicines are widely used to treat moderate to severe pain. These medicines have so far shown no relation to structural birth defects or other adverse effects like miscarriage. Studies show that use of these medicines in the first trimester showed some results with increased risk of miscarriage. This was seen with aspirin and NSAIDS and was not seen in women taking paracetamol.

What Should You Do?

The best way to treat fever and pain during pregnancy is by using natural remedies. Here are some of them.


Prenatal massage should be done by a professional and this will elevate pains like backache, hip discomfort and many more. You should take your obstetricians consent before undergoing massage during pregnancy.

Essential Oil Treatment

There are some aromatic oils which would give you relief from specific category of pain and it will have no adverse effect on your pregnancy or foetus. Again, you need your obstetrician’s consent for undergoing such treatment.

Hot or Cold Compress

Depending on the kind of pain warm compress or ice treatment could be very helpful. But make sure that you consult your doctor before undergoing such treatment.

Prenatal Yoga

Make sure you learn and practice yoga only under the guidance of experts. You can join certified classes to get best results.

Consult your healthcare provider before deciding on any natural remedy you wish choose to get relief from pain during pregnancy to stay assured of safety.

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Lolly.5 years ago
antipyretics and analgesics should be avoided during pregnancy
corex.8 years ago
its would be very greatful if you can briefly explain the side effects of this drug corex. the in detail explanation of these side effects if possible with some pictures can be of great help to the youth who are getting addicted to this drug.
Pallavi.8 years ago
corex is a prescribed medicine and can only be bought with a prescription from a general physician.
its active ingredients are chlorpheniramine maleate and codeine phosphate.
safety of corex has not been studied in pregnancy and lactation. therefore, probable benefits should be weighed against possible risks before prescribing corex cough syrup to pregnant women and nursing mothers.
adverse reactions include drowsiness, dizziness, dryness of mouth, nausea, and constipation.
corex is known to cause short term memory loss, sleeplessness, tremors and spasms. muscular pains and dehydration are other common side-effects.
long term abuse leads to serious kidney damage or constipation. corex has a high sugar content, and may be unsuitable for acute diabetic patients.
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