Pregnant women often find themselves with back pain, abdominal pain, headaches, joint pain, and other discomforts caused by weight gain, swelling, and postural changes. These pains are often a necessary sacrifice in order to allow the baby optimal conditions to grow. But living with pain, especially pain that reduces or prevents sleep, is not much fun.
Many women turn to chiropractors in order to help them with the temporary pain of pregnancy. Chiropractors can also help prepare mother and child for the birth process.
Even more women turn to simple over-the-counter medications to deal with the pain. Aspirin. Motrin. Midol. Celebrex. Toradol. Advil. These drugs are called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). I have spoken with several patients who say they use NSAIDs "like candy" when they are in pain. But are these drugs safe?
Are NSAIDs Safe?
One simple answer is that no drug is safe, since all drugs have side effects. But, in fairness, no human activity is completely without risk.
However, there is a perception that NSAIDs are "safer" than other drugs simply because NSAID purchases do not require a prescription. But did you know that the National Institute of Health puts long warning labels on even these "safer" drugs? Here's just a partial quotation from the warning for Celebrex (more accurately known as Celecoxib):
"People who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (other than aspirin) such as celecoxib may have a higher risk of having a heart attack or a stroke than people who do not take these medications. These events may happen without warning and may cause death. This risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time. Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, if you smoke, and if you have or have ever had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Get emergency medical help right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness in one part or side of the body, or slurred speech.
"If you will be undergoing a coronary artery bypass graft (CABG; a type of heart surgery), you should not take celecoxib right before or right after the surgery.
"NSAIDs such as celecoxib may cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach or intestine. These problems may develop at any time during treatment, may happen without warning symptoms, and may cause death. The risk may be higher for people who take NSAIDs for a long time, are older in age, have poor health, or drink large amounts of alcohol while taking celecoxib. Tell your doctor if you drink large amounts of alcohol or if you take any of the following medications: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); aspirin; other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); or oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone). Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had ulcers or bleeding in your stomach or intestines or other bleeding disorders. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop taking celecoxib and call your doctor: stomach pain, heartburn, vomiting a substance that is bloody or looks like coffee grounds, blood in the stool, or black and tarry stools."
This list of side effects may be concerning to a pregnant woman. After all, if some of these bad side effects can happen to your body, what might the drug be doing to your baby?
NSAIDs Linked to Spontaneous Abortion
Here's a direct quote from the National Institute of Health's online information on aspirin: "If you become pregnant while taking aspirin, call your doctor. Aspirin may harm the fetus and cause problems with delivery if it is taken during the last few months of pregnancy."
A study published last year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled "Use of nonaspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion" found an increased risk of spontaneous abortion with any use of any nonaspirin NSAID. The authors of the study wrote that "[t]he aim of our study was to empower women by informing them and their physicians of the potential risks of medication use during pregnancy."
It is still unknown whether aspirin itself is also linked with a higher rate of spontaneous abortion, but surely more studies will be performed on this topic. Ask your doctor if you have any questions regarding your NSAID use.
Iif you are concerned about the use of drugs during pregnancy, chiropractic is a safer, non-invasive way to help your pain and prepare for childbirth. If you are interested in learning more about the safe and gentle chiropractic technique called Activator Methods or about the famous Webster technique, contact your Peoria chiropractor for more information.
HT: Donald Peterson
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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Although every effort has been made to provide an accurate description of our chiropractic care and its benefits, the information given on this website and blog is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, medical advice for any condition.
If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
This blog is provided by Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria, S.C., proudly located in Peoria, IL.