Feature Article

Management of pain and fever during pregnancy

Debra Kennedy



Pregnant women do not need to suffer unnecessary pain or potentially dangerous fever for fear of their taking medications that may be harmful to their unborn baby. Healthcare providers should be confident when prescribing appropriate treatment to such women during pregnancy.

Key Points

  • Pain during pregnancy should be appropriately evaluated so that women receive appropriate treatment for their stage of pregnancy.
  • It is important to exclude acute (and potentially treatable) conditions.
  • Overall, appropriate therapeutic doses of the commonly used analgesics have not been associated with an increased incidence of birth defects. However, narcotic and NSAID use in later pregnancy may be associated with withdrawal/adaptation problems and other sequelae, respectively.
  • Sustained high fever in early pregnancy should be treated because it increases the risk of miscarriage and certain birth defects.