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Naproxen During Pregnancy – Can One Use It While Breastfeeding?

Pregnant Woman Checks The Drug Label

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The subject of the impact of taking Naproxen while pregnant or breastfeeding is a delicate one. In this review, we take a look at the key things to know about taking Naproxen during pregnancy and breastfeeding in the safest way possible.

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Table of contents

Is Naproxen Safe During Pregnancy?

What is Naproxen medicine? It is a widespread, accessible, and safe solution for pain management. In general, the use of painkillers during pregnancy is a usual thing since future mothers experience painful sensations from time to time. At the same time, one out of 33 babies is born with one or more congenital defects. One of the factors that can significantly increase this risk is when the mother of the child is dosing on a particular type of medication that interacts negatively with pregnancy. So, can one take Naproxen while pregnant?

Before using an NSAID (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) like Naproxen during pregnancy, it is important to be properly informed about the effects that the drug may have on the pregnancy at different stages.

For starters, Naproxen (brand name, Aleve) is unlikely to harm a baby in the womb if the pregnancy is still under 30 weeks. This means that one can safely use Naproxen during early pregnancy (within the first and second trimesters of pregnancy at least) and a couple of weeks after that. However, this does not suggest that one can take Naproxen sodium while pregnant at those stages without informing the doctor first. One may be suffering from a Naproxen allergy or some other dangerous health conditions that interact with the drug negatively, and only a health care provider would know the best way to deal with this. If Naproxen is used in the third trimester of pregnancy (especially after thirty weeks), one risks the following side effects:

Pregnant Woman On Medical Consultation

Premature closure of the ductus arteriosus

During pregnancy, a blood vessel in the baby (called the ductus arteriosus) needs to remain open so the baby can receive oxygen and nutrients from the mother. This vessel normally closes after birth. In situations where it closes early, the condition is called a premature closure of the ductus arteriosus. If premature closure occurs, there is a chance of high blood pressure in the lungs of the baby.

Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)

PPHN refers to a situation where the lungs of the newborn baby are not developed properly enough to help it breathe normally outside the womb, and it can be caused by misuse of Naprosyn during pregnancy. It has been linked with the aforementioned side effect from premature closure of the ductus arteriosus. PPHN is a rare condition but when it occurs, it is usually very serious.

Additionally, using NSAIDs such as Naproxen during the third trimester of pregnancy can lead to low levels of amniotic fluids in the sac around the baby (a condition known as Oligohydramnios) or slow down labor.

Naprosyn And Miscarriage

Some studies have suggested that regular use of NSAIDs such as Aleve during pregnancy may increase the chances of a miscarriage. NSAIDs reduce prostaglandins in the body and if they are used regularly over a long period of time, this prostaglandin reduction can cause a miscarriage. If the pregnant individual has only sparsely used Aleve during early pregnancy, there should be nothing to worry about but the attention and advice of a health care provider should still be sought for.

Woman With Newborn Near Window

What if the father of the baby takes Naproxen regularly?

There are no studies that suggest that the use of Naproxen or other types of NSAIDs by the father of a baby will affect the pregnancy in any way.

How soon before pregnancy should one stop using Naproxen?

Generally, the amount of time it takes for the medicine to clear up completely from a person’s body varies per individual. However, it takes about 4 days on the average for Naproxen to be completely cleared from the system of a healthy adult.

Always consult with the doctor before taking any medicine. Only a medical professional has the right to prescribe the medication and is able to provide all the needed information about the side effects.

Safe Use of Naproxen While Breastfeeding

There is limited information about the interactions between Naproxen and breastfeeding. Some studies show that when taken in small amounts for a short period of time, Aleve is unlikely to negatively affect the baby. However, despite the fact that Naproxen only enters breast milk in small amounts, its relatively long half-life makes it potentially more dangerous for the health of the baby than other NSAIDs. This is because long-term use of the drug with a long half-life such as Aleve during breastfeeding may cause compounds from the medicine to transfer into the baby’s body and collect there. Hence, it is more advisable to use alternatives such as Ibuprofen with a shorter half-life.

To minimize side effects from taking Aleve when breastfeeding, it is advisable to take the pills immediately after breastfeeding the baby to reduce concentration levels in the body before the next breastfeeding session.

Mother Tries To Breastfeed A Newborn

Summarily, one must be careful when using Aleve during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. It is only safe to take Aleve during breastfeeding if the doctor prescribes it. If the pregnant individual suffers from a health condition that may require the use of Naproxen, the doctor may be able to prescribe alternative medicine for the duration of the pregnancy. However, safe use of the drug is more important than trying to reduce the chances of side effects by depriving a growing baby of breast milk.

Avoiding Risks During Pregnancy

If a close person is suspected of addiction to Naproxen, one must seek treatment as soon as possible. The best rehab centers around the country provide the best possible treatment for those in need. A patient will have to go through the drug addiction treatment program to overcome the addiction and step on the path to recovery.

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  1. Genetic Alliance; The New York-Mid-Atlantic Consortium for Genetic and Newborn Screening Services. Understanding Genetics: A New York, Mid-Atlantic Guide for Patients and Health Professionals. Washington (DC): Genetic Alliance; 2009 Jul 8. APPENDIX K, BIRTH DEFECTS.
  2. Enzensberger, C., Wienhard, J., Weichert, J., Kawecki, A., Degenhardt, J., Vogel, M. and Axt-Fliedner, R. (2012), Idiopathic Constriction of the Fetal Ductus Arteriosus. Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, 31: 1285-1291.
  3. Van Marter, L. J., Hernandez-Diaz, S., Werler, M. M., Louik, C., & Mitchell, A. A. (2013). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in late pregnancy and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Pediatrics, 131(1), 79–87.


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