Ever since I got pregnant, the one thing I have been afraid of is putting anything into my body that is not natural. Something as simple as a bleach on my face also I have avoided. Or eating outside food. Because I have been dreading falling sick like crazy. Since the day one, this thing got very strongly ingrained in my system that I am not going to put myself through a situation where I have to take any unnecessary medicines – as that is after all chemicals going into my body. When all I want my baby to get is unadulterated love.
But little did I know that my unbearable tooth ache is going to bring me to the crossroads where I will have to make a tough choice and pop a pill? Headaches have always given me company since a very young age. We have always failed at getting to the root cause of their recurrent occurrence. And all through my pregnancy they continued to give me company. Earlier, every few days, my headache would compel me to take a strong painkiller. But ever since my pregnancy, I have pushed myself to bear that pain come what may. I would ask my husband to give me a massage at the most or pick up a fight with him to remove my frustration; but never once did I take a painkiller.
And then one day, as soon as I entered my third trimester; my wisdom tooth decided to give me a hell of a torture. For almost ten nights, back to back it would give me unbearable pain. I tried it all – putting a clove in my mouth to rubbing clove oil to a pain out tube to brushing every two hours to salt water gargles to breathing exercises to everything. But that throbbing pain – from my tooth to my cheek to my ear to my head to my neck – would just not give up on me. Each night I would vouch to go to the dentist and get something done; and the next morning it would get back to normal – the pain would simply disappear. Finally I spoke to my doctor and he said – you can get your tooth treated but avoid extraction at this stage. We do not want to further complications – anyways your haemoglobin is low, what if there is excessive blood loss or some deeper infection after the extraction – we will be compelled to give you heavy doses of medicines – which I do not recommend at this stage. I explained to him that the pain was getting unbearable now. And I had to do something about it. He asked me take a paracetamol if need be. A mild paracetamol is the almost harmless don’t worry – he tried to assure me.
I still avoided it for a few days – till one night – when I couldn’t bear it anymore. And then in any extreme case of helplessness, I popped my first paracetamol. My heart went out to my baby. Though I had instant relief from the pain – my heart was aching inside. Had I caused any harm to my child? Next morning I took the first appointment with my dentist and she let me down further – she declared that I had no choice but to bear through the pain. The wisdom tooth needed extraction and that they would have to do without a prior X-ray – making it even more risky. She said the only thing I could do was take a paracetamol each time the pain would be unbearable. And she told me that the pain would come to me in episodes, so I wouldn’t be needing to take the medicine everyday. But that left me highly disappointed.
So if I needed to sleep – during these episodes, I would have to take a pill. There was no escaping it. Hence, the first thing I decided to do was to find out for myself the real affect of paracetamol on the child. I read almost all medical reports available online and cross checked with all my doctors – my homeopath, my general physician, my cousin who is a doctor and my gynaecologist. And surprisingly – it didn’t turn out even half as bad as I thought it would.
Here is some information I thought I should compile to help you understand better what I mean:
1. Anything in excess, needless to say, is invariably harmful. And so is a ‘paracetamol
‘. But it is still one of the safest drugs during pregnancy when taken in mild doses. They say upto a 1000mg a day is considered safe. Though one should avoid it as much as possible.
2. Are there any extreme studies about side effects in case of excessive consumption –
a) A study conducted by the University of Edinburgh has shown that extensive – not occasional – use could cause male reproductive disorders at birth or in early childhood due to low testosterone production. (Source
b) Extensive use of paracetamol could lead to issues in the development of communication and behaviour. (Source
c) Excessive use has seen some cases of the child developing asthma. (Source
3. Overall – it is believed that paracetamol in pregnancy doesn’t cause any serious harm to the baby – like still birth or premature delivery or reduced weight at birth time or any serious birth defects. (Source
[Today – I have given sources along so as to assure the reader with multiple opinions over this issue. It was a very sensitive thing to me and could be the same for my reader. ]
So all in all – I understood that a paracetamol – in case of crisis – is not a problem.
And I also understood that when the pain is unbearable it is better to take it than not. Because when you suffer in that pain, your child suffers with you. (For unbearable pain I mean!)