Ibuprofen is generally not the pain reliever of choice when you’re pregnant, and a new study found another reason not to take it: It could harm the future fertility of baby girls.
A recent study in Human Reproduction found that taking ibuprofen during the first trimester can lower the number of eggs in the ovaries of baby girls. In fact, taking the over-the-counter medication for just two to seven days killed or stalled germ cells in ovarian tissue. Germ cells are integral in the development of healthy follicles.
Séverine Mazaud-Guittot, Ph.D., who is the lead author of the study and a researcher at INSERM in Rennes, France, said the medication caused tissue damage, but they’re not sure how. Baby girls are born with a certain number of follicles, so having a shorter reserve could cause a shorter reproductive lifespan, early menopause or infertility later in life.
Her team evaluated samples of 185 fetuses whose mothers had taken ibuprofen and had legal abortions.
When they looked at the amount of ibuprofen in the umbilical cords, they found that concentration was same between mother and baby.
“This study showed that women in the first trimester of pregnancy who took ibuprofen could be affecting the future fertility of their female offspring,” said Dr. Andrew Toledo, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist with Prelude Fertility, which has clinics across the country. Though there are flaws in the study and the mechanism of how the drug impacts fetal ovaries, the study could explain infertility and decreased ovarian function in some women, Toledo said.
“Based on the results of this study it seems prudent to have pregnant women avoid ibuprofen and probably all NSAID’s (nonsterodials) throughout their entire pregnancy, since these medications are already known to cause fetal developmental abnormalities in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy,” he added.