Is Taking Paracetamol during Pregnancy a Good Idea?

Paracetamol and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the beginning of a wonderful journey into motherhood. However, it is also a time when you have to be extra cautious about your health! Your body goes through drastic changes. What you eat and do impacts both your baby and you. This also applies to the medicines you take. Medicines have compounds that have the potential of harming your embryo. One innocuous medicine that we frequently take without even consulting a doctor is paracetamol, a drug that relieves pain and brings down fever. But, is taking paracetamol during pregnancy safe?

Paracetamol and pregnancy

Many women resort to taking paracetamols frequently when they are pregnant. During the maternity period, it is common for women to face symptoms like intense discomfort, joint and muscle ache and feverishness. Paracetamol can effectively eliminate this kind of pain. But recently many myths have surfaced claiming that paracetamol can have a detrimental effect on the unborn child. Let’s find out if these claims are valid:

Myth 1: Taking paracetamol during pregnancy may cause a miscarriage

No studies or research has yet found any link between taking paracetamol during pregnancy and miscarriage.  This medicine will not cause an abrupt termination of pregnancy.

Myth 2: Taking paracetamol during pregnancy can cause birth defects in babies

The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are vital because this is when the major organs and body parts of the baby start to develop. So, women are urged to be careful about the medicines they take in the first trimester.

Myth 3: Paracetamol during pregnancy can cause premature birth

Even if paracetamol is taken in the third trimester, the baby’s due date will not be affected. It can be taken throughout the pregnancy period without any danger of the baby being born before the 37th week.

Myth 4: Paracetamol causes low birth weight

There is no study to back the claim that taking paracetamol during pregnancy will result in a baby being small and underweight at birth. No matter how many paracetamols are taken, the baby’s weight will be normal (unless other factors mitigates the birth weight).

Myth 5: Taking paracetamol during pregnancy can trigger still-birth

Paracetamol does not increase the likelihood of stillbirth.

Myth 6: Paracetamol causes asthma in children

Some studies have shown that if a baby is exposed to paracetamol in the womb, then it increases the chances of the child developing asthma. But subsequent research hasn’t backed this conclusion.

Myth 7- Paracetamol and caffeine can harm the baby

There is some truth to this- Paracetamol coupled with too much caffeine (present in coffee and tea) can lead to low birth weight. However, you do not have to eliminate caffeine from your diet altogether. Moderation is key. It’s best to consult a doctor about caffeine intake and paracetamol usage to get a clearer picture.


  1. NHS
  2. Medicines in Pregnancy