Pain Pills in Pregnancy Face Scrutiny

11.10.10 New study links male fertility woes to use of too many mild pain relievers during pregnancy

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A new study finds that women who take more than one mild painkiller at the same time—such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen—during pregnancy have a higher risk of giving birth to sons with undescended testicles, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Researchers in Denmark and Finland questioned more than 2,200 pregnant women about their painkiller usage, and then examined their sons at birth. The moms-to-be who took more than one painkiller simultaneously, especially in the second trimester, had a higher incidence rate or cryptorchidism, a condition which eventually leads to poor semen quality and a form of testicular cancer later in life.

There are plenty of medications that pregnant women are advised against taking, but over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil are not among them in low-risk pregnancies. Even the study's researchers themselves are not advising pregnant women to toss out their pill bottles just yet, according to the report. They say the overall number of affected women is small and additional studies are needed.

If you're pregnant and in need of some pain medication and it's not an emergency, check our Feel Better Safely page to see expert suggestions regarding the use of over-the-counter medications. After all, there are some safe bets, but there are definitely some drugs that are strictly off-limits. If you're still unsure, check with your OB-GYN for some peace of mind.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.