Why Painkillers Reduce Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

Why Painkillers Reduce Your Chances of Getting Pregnant

Painkillers (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil) reduce your chances of implantation and increase your risk of early miscarriage. Learn why these drugs affects fertilization.

In this article I'm going to explain to you exactly why painkillers are going to prevent you from implanting your precious embryo into your uterine lining and basically preventing you from getting pregnant.

Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, specifically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be very dangerous when trying to conceive. These drugs are very common and a lot of us are taking them, even on a daily basis. Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aspirin... You can just go to the drugstore and buy them without prescription.

painkillers drug infertility ttc pregnancy

It has been studied and proven to reduce your chances of having successful implantation. 

A 2018 study took different groups of women in early pregnancy. The first group took painkillers ( NSAID - non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) during conceptions. The other group of women took acetaminophen during that time. Then the third group of women took no drugs at all.

The women were all on average about 39 days pregnant and the study was looking at which women were having miscarriages. After they took into account different risk factors like smoking and age, the results showed significantly that the women who took these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs around the time of conception had quite a higher risk of having a miscarriage compared to the women who did not.

They also have a higher risk of miscarriage compared to the women who instead took acetaminophen, which is still a painkiller, but not NSAID. They found that there was a 59% increase in the chance that the women who are taking these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have a miscarriage.

When they are comparing the women who are taking the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs compared to the women who were taking acetaminophen instead, there was still a 45% greater chance of having a miscarriage. Obviously, the longer they took painkillers, the worse the chances were of implantation occurring.

They also found that the risk of miscarriage was more likely to be within the first eight weeks of pregnancy.

ibuprofen infertility ttc pregnancy

Why painkillers increase your chances of not implanting or having a miscarriage?

This is because the purpose of these medications is to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. The way that they accomplish this is by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandin is actually really important when it comes to fertility but more specifically when it comes to implantation. You absolutely need higher levels of prostaglandin in order for implantation to occur.

So then of course, reduced amounts of prostaglandin lead to either implantation not happening or to miscarriages occurring in early pregnancy.

Your body needs prostaglandins in order to be fertile. Ovulation and implantation processes require prostaglandins.

Drugs that you should be avoiding when you're trying to conceive

So if you are taking painkiller drug now and you're getting a little bit paranoid, you don't know if your drug causes infertility, I am going give you a list of all of the drugs that are included in the NSAIDs category:

  • aspirin celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • diclofenac (Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren-XR, Zipsor, Zorvolex)
  • diflunisal (Dolobid - discontinued brand)
  • etodolac (Lodine - discontinued brand)
  • ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • indomethacin (Indocin)
  • ketoprofen (Active-Ketoprofen [Orudis - discontinued brand])
  • ketorolac (Toradol - discontinued brand)
  • nabumetone (Relafen - discontinued brand)
  • naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn)
  • oxaprozin (Daypro)
  • piroxicam (Feldene)
  • salsalate (Disalsate [Amigesic - discontinued brand])
  • sulindac (Clinoril - discontinued brand)
  • tolmetin (Tolectin - discontinued brand)

A good thing to do would just be to contact your doctor or talk to your pharmacist if you're picking up your medications and ask them if whatever you are taking is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

It's definitely very important to make sure that whatever medication you're taking is not going to interfere with the whole process of trying to conceive, as well as interfere with the development of your baby.

medication implantation infertility ttc pregnancy

What is actually happening when it comes to prostaglandins and implantation

Prostaglandins are are needed for so many phases. They are needed for ovulation to actually occur. They are they are needed to help support the sperm. They are needed for fertilization. They're needed for the embryo to develop into a blastocyst and then they are needed for implantation. This is the phase that I'm going to talk about.

Prostaglandins are secreted from the embryo, from the ovary, from the corpus luteum and from your endometrium. It is needed to stimulate cleavage, survival, and blastocyst formation inside the uterine cavity.

Cleavage is basically the separation of cells, cell splitting and forming new cells. When you have an embryo, you want this healthy cleavage, this healthy separating of cells in order to get to the point where this clump of cells becomes a blastocyst.

The blastocyst is at that stage what is implanting into your uterine lining. If there are errors in this process of this cell division, this is really really going to prevent implantation from happening. If implantation does happen and cells aren't dividing properly, then the baby is not developing properly, which has an increased chance of miscarriage.

But before we even get to that point of implantation, what is happening with a blastocyst when it is ready to implant into your uterine lining? This blastocyst is sending out messages to the uterine lining. Your uterine lining does have to be receptive to these messages. If your blastocyst is very healthy, all the cells have been dividing properly and it's genetically normal, it will be sending out signals telling the uterine lining that it is ready to implant. If the uterine lining is receptive then it will enable that blastocyst to implant within your endometrium.

However, if cell division was not done properly and now at this blastocyst stage there are errors in the genetics, maybe this blastocyst is not even able to send out signals. The uterine lining is not getting the message that there is a blastocyst that wants to implant. Therefore it won't implant. Or maybe if this blastocyst can still send out a signal but it does have this abnormal cell division, then the signal could be weak or the signal itself could be an abnormal signal. If the endometrium is receiving an abnormal signal then instead of being receptive to this embryo, it's going to cause almost more of a stress response in the uterine lining. The uterine lining is not going to be receptive to that embryo therefore implantation is not going to happen.

Blastocyst embryo implantation failure

That is basically the the whole process, that is the whole reason why you do not want to be taking these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during the time of conception, as well as up to two weeks before conception.

If you need a painkiller when TTC, take an alternative drug like an acetaminophen.