When a friend of mine became pregnant last year, I was very happy for her and her husband. It was their first baby and they were so excited, especially because she was told she might never have children due to also having inactive Lupus. Thankfully her pregnancy went fantastically and she and her husband had a beautiful baby girl. However, at the beginning of her pregnancy she had to start taking Prednisone because normal anti-inflammatory drugs may cause serious harm to your baby during pregnancy.

According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, women who take non-aspirin non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the early stages of pregnancy are more than two times more likely to miscarriage. Researchers from the University of Montreal, CHU Ste-Justine, Quebec, and École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Analyse de l'Information in Rennes, France, began a study to uncover the risk of miscarriage associated with the types and dosages of non-aspirin NSAIDs. 

In the study, nearly 8,000 cases of miscarriage were studied up to the 20th week of gestation. 352 or 7.5% of the women in the study took non-aspirin NSAIDs. Out of the control group of women who did not miscarry, 1213 or 2.6%2 had been exposed to non-aspirin NSAIDs. In the study, exposure to non-aspirin NSAIDs was defined as having filled at least one prescription for any type of the drug during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy or in the two weeks before the beginning of the pregnancy.

The authors of the study concluded that, “Given that the use of non-aspirin NSAIDs during early pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk of major congenital malformations and that our results suggest a class effect on the risk of clinically detected spontaneous abortion, non-aspirin NSAIDs should be used with caution during pregnancy.”

In many cases women have been able to use NSAIDs during pregnancy without any harmful effects at all, but for many, the risk just isn’t worth it. Women with high risk pregnancies like my friend should definitely steer clear from any non-aspirin NSAIDs and listen to their doctor’s advice about what medications their body can handle during pregnancy. If you have any concerns about taking common anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, ask your doctor about the risks and check out any other alternatives that might be available to you.

Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal (2011, September 6). Anti-inflammatory drugs taken in early pregnancy more than double risk of miscarriage, study finds. ScienceDaily.

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