Pregnant women should carefully consider whether or not to take pain medication, the FDA advises. However, the agency says that it cannot make any new recommendations on pain medication during pregnancy because available data are too limited.
The agency reviewed available data in response to concerns about the safety of using either over-the-counter (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) or prescription painkillers (e.g., codeine, oxycodone) during pregnancy.
Eight studies were reviewed in all — five on the link between prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and miscarriage, two on a connection between opioid exposure and risk for neural tube defects, and one about acetaminophen use and the risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. The FDA found that the studies were limited in their design or showed conflicting results.