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Any advice on taking codeine during pregnancy ?

(12 Posts)
Emmalou Fri 30-Aug-02 11:32:52

I have been suffering from backache and terrible
headaches throughout my 2nd pregnancy and been taking Solphadene (codeine and paracetemol) which works wonders. I was unsure about taking it so
have asked my hospital consultant if it's OK and
he assures me it's fine but to avoid taking it near delivery as it could make the baby sleepy during labour. I am taking it most days but still have this niggling worry about it. I have checked the web and most sources say definately NOT to take it during pregnancy. Who should I listen to ? Anyone any knowledge or experience of this ?

nics1stbaby Fri 30-Aug-02 11:41:08


I can't help with facts, but I am pregnant and I sympathise as its a minefield trying to get info on things like this. I personally would call my midwife and ask her opinion. If she too says its ok, ask her to explain why you keep coming across advise on the web saying the opposite, which should hopefully put your mind at ease.

Interestingly, a friend of mine who is breastfeeding her 5 month old was told a few weeks ago by a doctor to take 2 paracetomol 4 times a day for back pain. She had steered clear of all tablets during her pregnancy, so found this advice remarkable!

Good luck

Philippat Fri 30-Aug-02 11:42:53

There's only a tiny bit of codeine in over-the-counter drugs (unlike the codeine you get prescribed with toothache etc) which is why your consultant is probably not too worried.

However, I'd still avoid it if you can, all opium-derived drugs do cross the placenta. Have you tried the paracetemol on its own? If I were you, I'd try and get to the root cause of your backaches and headaches - have you tried an oestopath?

Enid Fri 30-Aug-02 12:27:58

I have some prescription codeine for back pain and headaches. My gp told me definitely NOT to take it during pregnancy. I have been seeing an acupuncturist instead and taking plain soluble paracetamol if things get really bad.

pupuce Fri 30-Aug-02 12:41:50

nics :You can take paracetamol during pregnancy and even as labour starts.

Emmalou... you sound in a lot of pain to need to use such strong medication. Have you thought of accupuncture or another alternative healthcare.
I just read in a midwifery journal that they did a study in Sweden (physiotherapy country if ever there was one!) for back pain relief during pregnancy. The results in favour of accupuncture were overwhelming (versus conventional physio).... and I am sure headaches can also be helped...
Good luck

Enid Fri 30-Aug-02 13:47:11

pupuce, is paracetamol safe to take all through pregnancy? I'm just asking as I'd like to take a couple before bed to help with my back pain (the acupuncture has helped but not cured completely - did cure headaches completely though). I read in one of my books that you should avoid it in the last month as it could cause bleeding in the baby - but I've never heard that before. Anyway, if you know perhaps you could set my mind at rest, ta.

pupuce Fri 30-Aug-02 14:42:01

Well your MW really should answer that but I believe it is. Please do check !

mears Fri 30-Aug-02 16:39:30

Paracetamol on it's own is perfectly safe to take at any tage in pregnancy. It is actually a very effective medication for headache and backache.
Emmalou it would be better to take paracetamol on it's own. The codeine in Solpadene can be a problem if you take it on a very regular basis ie. more than once every day. It is an opioid analgesic and babies can suffer from withdrawal if it has been taken on a very regular basis. Opioids do also cause respiratory depression so your consultant is right to say avoid taking it near delivery.
Have you seen a physiotherapist about your backache. You may be able to find alternative ways of helping your backache.

PoodleGirl Fri 03-Jun-05 18:08:21

I have today been prescribed codeine for hernia pain. I am 14 weeks pregnant. My GP said it's dangerous before 13 weeks and in the later stages. I'm not going to take it mind you - think I'll persevere with paracetamol, it sounds too risky for me!

jessicasmummy Fri 03-Jun-05 18:10:44

i had codeine when in hospital while having my appendix out - 17 weeks pg. Works wonders and baby is fine.

Pages Fri 03-Jun-05 21:32:28

I researched it a bit as I was worried, and it seems that it is okay in the middles trimester, should NOT be taken in the first as can cause birth defects, and not in the last as there is a risk of the baby suffering withdrawal after birth.

I took a few for toothache but it does seem that paracetamol is safer so would stick to that if it works for you. One GP told me codeine was fine, another said paracetemol was better.

bellababe Fri 03-Jun-05 21:42:31

I think with all these things they weigh up the risks of taking a drug against the risks of the consequences of not taking it. For example, aspirin is one you shouldn't take during pregnancy, but some pregnant women are prescribed it if they have a risk of miscarriage because the consequences of not taking it are worse. same with all these drugs. I gues that generally one shouldn't take codeine, but if one's dr reckons there are not likely to be any contraindications it can be perfectly safe. i was prescribed co-prxamol for severe sinus pain in pregnancy. That is co-codamol plus. If your dr says it's safe, then i would say that in all likelihood it is, for you. the guidelines are so that people don't take it upon themselves to decide what they should and shouldn't take.

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