Ibuprofen while breastfeeding

Is ibuprofen allowed during breastfeeding?

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that has anti-pain and anti-inflammatory effects. It is pharmacy only, which means that it is only available from pharmacies. Depending on the dosage, it can be bought without a doctor's prescription.

For various medical reasons, pregnancy is divided into three phases, which are also called trimesters. In the first and second trimester, ibuprofen, regardless of the dose, may only be taken after careful consultation with a doctor. Ibuprofen is contraindicated in the third trimester as it can cause malformations in the child. There is nothing wrong with taking ibuprofen while breastfeeding, as long as the maximum dose per day is adhered to and it is not a permanent intake.

Effects of ibuprofen

Along with aspirin ©, ibuprofen is one of the best-known NSAIDs. This abbreviation stands for "non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs". It works by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase. This is involved in the mediation of pain stimuli and inflammatory processes. So if you inhibit this enzyme, you also inhibit pain and inflammation. From a chemical point of view, ibuprofen belongs to the arylpropionic acids, a subgroup of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is a very popular pain reliever because it works quickly, effectively, and can be used for many different types of pain.

It is particularly effective for inflammation pain, headache, toothache, menstrual pain and pain in the musculoskeletal system, i.e. the muscles and bones. It also inhibits local, limited, and systemic whole-body ailments caused by inflammation. Ibuprofen usually lasts about 6 hours.

Side effects of ibuprofen

As effective and fast as ibuprofen is, unfortunately it also has some side effects.

It can lead to stomach ulcers and bleeding, damage to the kidneys, and cause breathing difficulties in asthmatics. Ibuprofen is a very powerful drug. Even an adult body can sometimes find it difficult to deal with this active ingredient. He needs some enzymes to break it down again and healthy kidneys through which it can finally be excreted from the body.

So it's easy to imagine that a baby's body isn't up to the job. Fortunately, the little ones are protected from such potential toxins by the placenta during the first two thirds of a pregnancy. In the last third, however, the thickness of the placenta decreases and the probability increases that the drug can pass into the child's circulation. So to avoid damage to the kid's kidneys and liver, ibuprofen should no longer be taken from the beginning of the third trimester.

When breastfeeding, on the other hand, taking below the maximum dose is not a problem, as it is not transmitted through breast milk at a daily dose of up to 1600mg

More information can be found here: Side effects of ibuprofen

Ibuprofen interactions

Simultaneous use of ibuprofen and other NSAIDs increases their side effects, especially gastrointestinal complaints and gastric bleeding are more common. Aspirin is generally less suitable for treating pain during breastfeeding, which is why a combination should be avoided.

Particular caution is also required when taking ibuprofen and dehydrating drugs, as well as ibuprofen and antihypertensive drugs, together. Kidney function is impaired by ibuprofen and can be made even worse by taking these drugs at the same time.

Counter signs of ibuprofen while breastfeeding

Counter-signs or contraindications are used when there are reasons that a drug should not be taken.

One of the main contra-signs is a third trimester pregnancy. Ibuprofen is not recommended at this time. Ibuprofen should also not be taken in the first and second trimester if there is already kidney damage or liver dysfunction. It should also not be taken by people who are prone to stomach bleeding and ulcers. Heart failure, an allergy to ibuprofen and bleeding in the brain in the past are also contraindications for the use of ibuprofen.

Dosage during breastfeeding

Studies have shown that ibuprofen can only be detected in breast milk at very high doses and consequently in the child's bloodstream. Therefore, ibuprofen can be taken safely in low to medium doses during breastfeeding for pain and inflammation. However, if higher doses of ibuprofen have to be taken and it is not possible to switch to another medication, according to the package insert, you should think about weaning early.

Higher doses are usually spoken of from around 1600 mg per day. However, there are also some voices in the medical community who say that ibuprofen can also be taken in higher doses during breastfeeding after careful risk-benefit assessment. It is therefore advisable to consult your family doctor, pediatrician or gynecologist who knows you well. Taking all health facts together, he or she can then decide individually whether or not ibuprofen can be taken in higher doses. Regardless of the dosage, ibuprofen can be taken for any kind of pain and inflammation while breastfeeding.

Or is paracetamol better?

Paracetamol is a non-acidic analgesic and chemically belongs to the class of aniline derivatives. According to guidelines, paracetamol is the first choice for drug treatment of pain during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Guidelines are recommendations for the treatment of diseases that are updated regularly by specialist groups. So if pain occurs during these times, it is better to take paracetamol instead of ibuprofen. It should be noted, however, that this only applies if pain is to be treated.

If ibuprofen is taken because of inflammation, it cannot be switched to paracetamol because paracetamol is not anti-inflammatory. The exact mechanism of action of paracetamol is not yet known. However, it is very well tolerated and has very few side effects. The most common is an overdose. Therefore, the dosage information must never be exceeded independently. If the pain is very severe, you should first consult your doctor before taking more paracetamol.

An important contraindication to paracetamol is liver failure. Adults should not take more than 4 grams per day and no more than 500-1000 mg per single dose. Paracetamol does not help with inflammation, but has an antipyretic effect, i.e. it lowers fever. It is also the first choice for babies and children.

More information can be found here: Paracetamol while breastfeeding

What other alternatives are there?

Unfortunately, there are very few medicinal alternatives for pain that occurs during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

No pain medication other than ibuprofen from the class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should be taken. Other pain relievers such as opioids should also not be used during pregnancy. Only ibuprofen can be used with restrictions, and only paracetamol is recommended. So alternatives are only home remedies, for example a cold rag on the forehead, rest, sleep and darkness.

Read more about the topic here: Painkillers while breastfeeding

Ibuprofen for headaches while breastfeeding

Ibuprofen is a versatile pain reliever. It therefore also relieves most common types of headaches.

It can be taken during the first two trimesters of pregnancy if there are no signs to the contrary. It should not be taken in the last third.

Ibuprofen can be used for headaches while breastfeeding. The dosage depends individually on the severity of the headache. However, the maximum daily dose for adults of 1200 mg ibuprofen should not be exceeded. It is recommended that this dose be divided into three to four divided doses. If side effects occur, a doctor must be consulted immediately and no further tablets should be taken.

Ibuprofen for toothache while breastfeeding

Ibuprofen can also be used for toothache and is very effective.

Ibuprofen is largely safe to use while breastfeeding. For toothache, too, the dose depends on the severity of the pain. In addition, the anti-inflammatory effect of ibuprofen comes into play here, because toothache is often accompanied by inflammatory processes. The maximum daily dose of 1200 mg, which should be divided into three to four individual doses, remains. In the case of toothache, too, ibuprofen should not be taken if there are contraindications. If you take ibuprofen for a longer period of time, it is also advisable to use a stomach protector to prevent ulcers and bleeding.

You may also be interested in this article: Pain relievers for toothache

Should I express before taking ibuprofen?

You do not need to express yourself before taking ibuprofen. It has been shown in several studies that ibuprofen in low and medium doses cannot be found in breast milk or the blood of children. It is recommended that breastfeeding be stopped prematurely if it is necessary to take high-dose ibuprofen. However, there may still be exceptions, which is why breastfeeding can still be continued in some cases