Naproxen sodium is a commonly available pain medication that finds space in almost everyone’s medicine cabinet. You may know it better as Aleve, Naprosyn, Naproxen, Aflaxen and Anaprox. It is used for various conditions like headaches, toothache, muscle pain, period cramps, and more. It also works as an anti-inflammatory drug advised to relieve joint stiffness, pain, and swelling caused by chronic conditions like arthritis.
As with everything else like your diet and physical activity, you have to mind your meds during pregnancy; you can’t just pop anything without thinking of the consequences. This is also the time you so want to resort to painkillers because pregnancy brings with it so many new aches and pains–from leg cramps to round ligament pains, and more.
This fear of not knowing what medication is safe or not can force many pregnant women to bear immense pain in silence rather than taking a painkiller. But don’t think you’re being brave and strong by doing so. Research has revealed that chronic, severe pain when left untreated during pregnancy is associated with high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.1
But a lot of drugs, especially painkillers, do not make their way to your ob-gyn’s list of ‘safe medicines’ as there may be chances of your fetus getting affected by them. So can you take naproxen while pregnant? Or is it one of those blacklisted drugs during those nine months?
Does Naproxen Sodium Increase The Risk Of Miscarriage?
Naproxen sodium comes in the category of NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and the USFDA does not consider them safe as it is associated with the risk of miscarriage in the first half of pregnancy.2
Taking naproxen while pregnant is associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion. According to a study of 4705 cases of spontaneous abortions, the use of non-aspirin NSAIDs during pregnancy was significantly associated with the risk of miscarriages. The use of naproxen was especially prominent in the cases. Other non-aspirin NSAIDs that posed the risk were diclofenac, naproxen, celecoxib, ibuprofen, and rofecoxib.3
Can Naproxen Sodium Cause Birth Defects?
Some studies claim that the drug is found to be teratogenic in animals, meaning it can disturb the development of the fetus. Teratogens can halt the pregnancy or produce birth defects.4
However, according to a study of 6511 pregnant women who used NSAIDs like naproxen during pregnancy, no neonatal complications or birth defects were reported.5
Does It Pass Over To The Baby?
Unfortunately, naproxen does make its way into the placenta and consequently the fetus through your bloodstream. According to a study of 28 women who requested a surgical termination of pregnancy in the first trimester, traces of naproxen were found in maternal venous blood, coelomic fluid, amniotic fluid and fetal tissue. However, only a small amount was observed in fetal tissues. Since there is no information on whether this small an amount of naproxen would be associated with birth defects or not, caution should be practiced by women who are pregnant.6
Short-term use of naproxen has been largely considered to be safe during the first and second trimesters.7
Perhaps you can check with your doctor as to what amount of naproxen during pregnancy is safe for you. The doctor will also be able to advise you on the alternatives to naproxen and other not-so-safe medication during pregnancy.
Are There Any Other Risks For Mother And Baby?
Taken during pregnancy, NSAIDs like naproxen sodium can possibly cause adverse maternal and fetal effects. Risks for the mother include a prolonged pregnancy and labor. For the baby, it could mean constriction of the ductus arteriosus (a heart defect caused by problems in the heart’s development), kidney dysfunction and hemostatic abnormalities. These can occur at the fetal or newborn stage.8
When consumed during late pregnancy, the adverse effects also include a decrease in the volume of amniotic fluid and putting a newborn at risk of pulmonary hypertension.9
Therefore, naproxen use during pregnancy is a big no-no in the third trimester. Any kind of treatment of such NSAIDs is advised to be discontinued at 32 weeks of gestation.10
Is It Okay To Have Naproxen Sodium During Lactation?
Now you know about the effect of drugs like naproxen sodium in pregnancy. But what about lactation? Is it safe for breastfeeding moms to use the drug? Study data suggests that while NSAIDs like naproxen are excreted in small amounts into breast milk, there is little risk of adverse effects in the suckling infant.11 A once-in-a-while use of naproxen should pose no threat to your baby.
|↑1||Babb, Malaika, Gideon Koren, and Adrienne Einarson. “Treating pain during pregnancy.” Canadian Family Physician 56, no. 1 (2010): 25-27.|
|↑2||http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm429117.htm%20%E2%80%9CFDA%20Drug%20Safety%20Communication%E2%80%9D">FDA Drug Safety Communication. FDA.|
|↑3||Nakhai-Pour, Hamid Reza, Perrine Broy, Odile Sheehy, and Anick Bérard. “Use of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion.” Canadian Medical Association Journal 183, no. 15 (2011): 1713-1720.|
|↑4, ↑6||Siu, S. S. N., J. H. K. Yeung, and T. K. Lau. “An in-vivo study on placental transfer of naproxen in early human pregnancy.” Human Reproduction 17, no. 4 (2002): 1056-1059.|
|↑5||Nezvalová‐Henriksen, Kateřina, Olav Spigset, and H. Nordeng. “Effects of ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, and piroxicam on the course of pregnancy and pregnancy outcome: a prospective cohort study.” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology 120, no. 8 (2013): 948-959.|
|↑7||Rathmell, James P., Christopher M. Viscomi, and Michael A. Ashburn. “Management of nonobstetric pain during pregnancy and lactation.” Anesthesia & Analgesia 85, no. 5 (1997): 1074-1087.|
|↑8, ↑11||Østensen, M. “Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during pregnancy.” Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology 27, no. sup107 (1998): 128-132.|
|↑9||Rathmell, James P., Christopher M. Viscomi, and Michael A. Ashburn. “Management of nonobstetric pain during pregnancy and lactation.” Anesthesia & Analgesia 85, no. 5 (1997): 1074-1087.|
|↑10||Østensen, Monika E., and Johan F. Skomsvoll. “Anti-inflammatory pharmacotherapy during pregnancy.” Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy 5, no. 3 (2004): 571-580.|