PARACETAMOL is a common painkiller used to treat aches and pain.

But should you use it when you are pregnant? Let’s find out.

It is safe for women to take paracetamol while pregnant


It is safe for women to take paracetamol while pregnantCredit: Alamy

Can I take paracetamol when pregnant?

Pregnancy comes with aches and pains and heightened anxiety about what we put into the body.

But when it comes to being pregnant or breastfeeding, paracetamol is the first choice of painkiller.

It’s been taken by many pregnant and breastfeeding women with no harmful effects in the mother or baby.

In September 2021, a new article published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology urged caution around taking paracetamol during pregnancy.

But the new consensus statement calls for caution, not concern. 

For more information about how paracetamol can affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPS) website.

What are the side effects of paracetamol?

Paracetamol very rarely causes side effects if you take it at the right dosage.

But if you’re worried about a side effect or notice anything unusual, it’s best to talk to your pharmacist or doctor.

How many paracetamol can I take a day?

The usual dose for adults is one or two 500mg tablets up to 4 times in 24 hours.

It’s important to always leave at least 4 hours between doses and never exceed more than 4000mg in one day.

How and when should I take paracetamol?

As well as being used to treat aches and pains, paracetamol can also be used to reduce a high temperature.

The recommended dose of paracetamol is one or two 500mg tablets at a time.

It is important to not take paracetamol with other medicines containing paracetamol.

Don’t expect to feel better instantly – it can take up to an hour to work.

Even if your pain is very bad, do not be tempted to increase the dose or to take a double dose.

Overdosing can cause serious side effects.

Paracetamol is safe to take with most prescription medicines, including antibiotics.

However, it may not be suitable for some people. Talk to your doctor if you take:

  • the blood-thinner warfarin – paracetamol can increase the risk of bleeding if you take it regularly
  • medicine to treat epilepsy
  • medicine to treat tuberculosis (TB)
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