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Codeine is usually prescribed for mild or moderate pain, and sometimes to suppress a persistent cough.
There is no yes or no answer to this question. When deciding whether or not to take codeine during pregnancy it is important to weigh up the benefits of its use against the known or possible risks, some of which will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are. This leaflet summarises the scientific studies relating to the effects of codeine on a baby in the womb.
It is advisable to consider this information before taking codeine if you are pregnant. For some women, treatment with codeine in pregnancy may be necessary. If you have taken any medicines it is always a good idea to let your doctor know that you are pregnant so that you can decide together whether you still need the medicines that you are on and to make sure that you are taking the lowest dose that works.
It is mainly during this time that some medicines are known to cause birth defects. There is no scientific proof that taking codeine during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy causes birth defects. When specific types of birth defects were analysed some studies suggested a possible link between codeine use in pregnancy and certain heart defects, however other studies showed no link. No link between codeine use in pregnancy and having a miscarriage or stillbirth is known about, however no scientific studies have been carried out that have specifically investigated this.
No link between codeine use in pregnancy and the baby being born early before 37 weeks of pregnancy or weighing less than g was found in the one study which has investigated this. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings. No studies have been carried out to look at whether there is an increased risk of learning and behavioural problems in children who were exposed to codeine while in the womb. Breathing problems at birth Codeine affects breathing in some people. Only one small study has investigated this.
Although this study did not show that babies exposed to codeine during pregnancy are at increased risk of having breathing problems around the time of birth, information on more pregnant women is needed to be sure.
If you are likely to be taking codeine towards the end of pregnancy it is advisable to plan, with your health care provider, where you are going to have your baby so that, if necessary, arrangements for your baby to be monitored are already in place. Studies have shown that some babies who have been exposed to morphine in the womb experience withdrawal symptoms after birth as a result of no longer getting morphine through the placenta. Taking codeine near to the end of pregnancy may also cause neonatal withdrawal.
If you have taken codeine around the time of delivery your baby may be monitored for a few days after birth.
Childhood cancer There is no proof that taking codeine during pregnancy will cause your child to develop cancer. One study has shown that mothers of children who developed a type of cancer called neuroblastoma were more likely to have taken codeine during their pregnancies. However, links have also been shown between neuroblastoma and many other factors.
It is likely that some of these findings have resulted from how the information was collected or analysed, and the fact that the mothers took codeine in pregnancy may be a coincidental finding. There is no evidence that taking codeine during pregnancy causes any problems that would require extra monitoring for your baby during pregnancy. We would not expect any increased risk to your baby if the father took codeine before or around the time you became pregnant.
If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from www. Do you have 3 minutes to complete a short, quick and simple 12 question user feedback form about our bumps information leaflets?
To have your say on how we can improve our website and the information we provide please visit here. Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.
Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby. How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.
Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information.
to my bumps my bumps. Codeine Date: February Version: 2 View printable version. General information Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, Is it safe to take co codamol when pregnant 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. Medicines use in pregnancy Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. View printable version. Provide information about your pregnancy to help women in the future.Is it safe to take co codamol when pregnant
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