Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant? 3 Pain Relievers to Avoid


You have a massive headache, the pounding in your head is unbearable, but you ask yourself “can you take Tylenol while pregnant?” The good news is that most women will be able to handle Tylenol without any side effects or issues along the way.

But there are some women that may not be able to take this over-the-counter medicine.

And before we start, it’s important to know that the medical term for Tylenol is: acetaminophen.

Why Tylenol Is Safe

Pouring Tylenol out of bottle

Tylenol (regular and extra strength) are both safe as long as you follow the proper dosage recommendations. Keep in mind, if you have medical issues or are on medication, it’s recommended that you consult with your doctor before taking any medication.

While this medicine is safe with the vast majority of medications, you always want to err on the side of caution when taking any medicine while pregnant.

If you were to take something along the lines of ibuprofen, this can pose a major risk to you and your baby.

3 Headache Relievers to Avoid While Pregnant

Since Tylenol is safe to take when you have headaches or pain, you may think that all medicines within the same classification are safe to take. But this is a big fallacy. In fact, many of the most common pain relievers and headache medications are not safe for you or your baby.

Avoid the following:

  1. Motrin
  2. Advil
  3. Aleve

What you may not know is that Motrin and Advil fall into the ibuprofen classification. Aleve is considered a naproxen. If you come across any medications with this name, you’ll want to avoid them as they all work similarly.

So, why should you avoid these medicines?

  • Ibuprofen: Motrin and Advil, or any ibuprofen, can cause a reduction in amniotic fluid levels during the third trimester. This will result in less cushioning for your baby and puts more pressure on your umbilical cord – the baby’s lifeline.
  • Naproxen: Aleve, along with any naproxen, can cause blood vessels in your baby’s heart to close before they’re properly formed. When this occurs, severe developmental issues can arise later on in your pregnancy.

Facts About Tylenol

Tylenol is able to relieve pains, headaches, fever and even flu symptoms. A very popular over-the-counter medication, this medication has been studied significantly. The findings and facts should be cautioned at all times:

  • Oral Administration: Women that take Tylenol when pregnant should do so orally. The FDA classifies this medicine as Category B. While Tylenol does cross the placenta, studies show that it does not cause any harm in the process.
  • Intravenous: It is possible to take this medicine intravenously, but this would result in a Category C There are a lack of studies and trials to determine if intravenous administration is safe or not.

You should never exceed dosage recommendations when taking any medication. The norm in terms of maximum allowed dosage of Tylenol is 4000mg.

  • ADHD: Studies have been performed on Tylenol usage and ADHD in children. A study conducted on 64,322 children at the Danish National Birth Cohort shows that over 50% of babies born with ADHD had mothers that had taken Tylenol.
  • Autism: One study found possible links between autism and Tylenol usage, but the study was inconclusive.
  • Asthma: A New Zealand study points to a possible link between Tylenol and asthma in children.

Keep in mind that these studies, aside from the ADHD study, need to be further examined to determine a direct link to Tylenol usage. Many factors may be attributed to their findings.

Pregnant woman holding Tylenol pills on hand

Tylenol Combination Medicines

Tylenol regular and extra strength are safe to take, but the following are not recommended:

  • Tylenol PM: This formula has been linked to interference in fetal growth and may cause withdrawal symptoms and seizures.
  • Tylenol with Codeine: This formula is not recommended to expecting mothers due to withdrawal symptoms and possible development concerns.
  • Tylenol Multi-symptom: Several combinations of medicines are included in this formula; mothers are advised to not take this medication.

[Read more about Tylenol]

And while Tylenol does enter into the breast milk of the mother, several studies confirm that this provides little to no risk to the nursing infant.

If you’re wondering if you can take Tylenol while pregnant, it’s only recommended that you take normal or extra strength versions to be on the safe side. Always consult with your physician before taking any medication that is not prescribed to you.


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