Health Advice



New info on taking acetaminophen while pregnant

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Between 50% and 70% of pregnant women experience back pain related to their pregnancy, and for 10% of them, it's so severe that they cannot continue working or enjoying daily activities. Easing the discomfort can be difficult. The Food and Drug Administration says that NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and celecoxib are to be avoided after the 20th week of pregnancy because they can cause rare but serious kidney problems in an unborn baby that lead to low levels of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and additional complications.

The often-recommended alternative is acetaminophen -- the FDA and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say that it's safe during pregnancy, with your doctor's permission. However, a new study in PLOS One looked at 1,011 women who reported using acetaminophen during pregnancy and discovered that at age 3, their kids had significantly more sleep and attention problems than kids whose moms didn't take acetaminophen while carrying them. This follows a 2021 consensus statement published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology urging caution on the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy. So, talk to your obstetrician before you take this pain reliever either over-the-counter (it's in 600 medications) or as a prescription.

For pain relief, alternative approaches include acupuncture, massage (only from a certified prenatal massage therapist); heat packs; meditation; wearing low-heeled, supportive shoes; getting physical therapy (again, see only PTs certified to manage pregnancy-related cases); sleeping on your side, stretched out -- not in a fetal position, with a pillow between your knees/legs; and wearing a maternity support belt.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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