Advil, Tylenol or aspirin during pregnancy: is anything safe?


Like most uncomfortable symptoms during pregnancy, headaches are caused partly by a surge in hormones. Whether they come in the form of added pressure or shooting pains, headaches are one of the top-reported pregnancy ailments – but that doesn't make them any easier to deal with.

How you may be making the problem worse

Though they can occur at any point throughout pregnancy, an increase in headaches is most common during the first trimester. This is when your body is flooded with extra hormones – and when it is increasing your blood volume to grow and care for your baby. While some degree of discomfort may be inevitable as your body adjusts, there are a few ways you could be making the situation worse:

  • Not dealing with stress and anxiety properly
  • Not getting adequate rest
  • Not staying properly hydrated
  • Not eating a well-balanced diet
  • Not weaning off caffeine slowly enough

How to treat headaches during pregnancy

Doctors advise against taking pain relievers such as Advil and aspirin during pregnancy. Some studies have shown that these medications, when taken regularly, may increase miscarriage risk and contribute to a host of complications – including placental abruption. Ingesting these frequently may hinder baby's growth and development, and even delay labor. If you can't suffer through another headache, try one of these pain-relieving moves instead of reaching for the aspirin bottle:

  • Talk to your health care provider about taking a dose of Tylenol. Acetaminophen is considered safe during pregnancy when taken as prescribed on the bottle.
  • Apply a warm or cold compress to the affected area.
  • For sinus headaches, apply gentle pressure and a warm compress to your forehead, temples or nose.
  • For migraines, an ice pack on your forehead can work wonders. Rest in a cool, dark room may do the trick too.

Have you been suffering through headaches during your pregnancy? What are some ways you've found relief?


  1. Boston University School of Medicine along with March of Dimes, Boston Medical Center, and Boston Public Health Commission has studied the positive effects of the nightly consumption of prenatal aspirin (81 mg) starting at 12 weeks of pregnancy. Evidence shows that benefits outweigh the risk for pregnant women taking low dose aspirin and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has updated its guidelines recommending that low-dose aspirin be used as preventative medicine for women who are at high risk for preeclampsia, or high blood pressure, during pregnancy. We ask that you update the information posted on your website/mobile application so that you are in accordance with USPTF’s updated guidelines. In an act of solidarity

    Team PNA

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