- What is tramadol (Ultram)?
- Can you take tramadol while pregnant?
- What if you have already taken tramadol (Ultram) during pregnancy?
- What are the side effects of taking tramadol during pregnancy?
- Can tramadol cause miscarriage?
- Can tramadol increase the chance of the baby having birth defects?
- Does tramadol cause other pregnancy complications?
- Does tramadol cause withdrawal symptoms in the baby after birth?
- General precautions to follow while taking tramadol
A pain in the back, neck, joints or the feet.
Aches are aplenty when you are pregnant. Headaches and joint pains are among the common ones. And one of the common medications your doctor would recommend is the opioid named tramadol. But, how safe is this medication for pregnant women? Does it cause any adverse effects?
What Is Tramadol (Ultram)?
Tramadol is a prescription medication for treating moderate to severe pains caused by vascular, traumatic or inflammatory diseases. It belongs to a group of drugs known as opioid analgesics, which work by obstructing pain signals in the body. This drug also affects the balance of mood chemicals in the brain, which is why it can also be used as a recreational drug.
It is available in tablet and capsule forms and can be taken with or without food. You should swallow the tablet or the capsule as a whole, but not break, crush or chew it (1). It is available under the brand names Conzip and Ultram ER, and in combination with acetaminophen under the name Ultracet (2).
Can You Take Tramadol While Pregnant?
There is not enough information to assess the safety of tramadol during pregnancy. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, this drug falls under category C, which means animal studies have shown adverse effects on the unborn baby and there are no well-controlled studies in humans.
Tramadol can only be taken when its benefits outweigh the risks to the mother or the fetus. The doctor will also consider your gestational age before prescribing the medication (3).
What If You Have Already Taken Tramadol (Ultram) During Pregnancy?
If you have been on tramadol before pregnancy or have taken it during pregnancy without prescription, let your doctor know about it. The doctor can decide whether you can continue and if needed, give the lowest possible dose to ease the pain.
Do not stop taking the medication abruptly as it could be dangerous for both you and the unborn. Always take your doctor’s advice before withdrawing from the medicine.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Tramadol During Pregnancy?
The most noticeable side effects of taking tramadol during pregnancy are dizziness, nausea, anxiety, drowsiness, and constipation. Sometimes, you will also experience severe side effects such as breathing problems, skin rash, and seizures (4).
Can Tramadol Cause Miscarriage?
There are few studies reporting miscarriage due to tramadol. More research is needed to get a definitive answer to it.
Can Tramadol Increase The Chance Of The Baby Having Birth Defects?
Only a few studies have shown an increase in birth defects due to opioid medications. There is a very small or no confirmed risk of birth defects due to tramadol usage (5).
Does Tramadol Cause Other Pregnancy Complications?
Tramadol is not known to cause any risks such as stillbirth or low birth weight. There are no relevant studies so far.
Does Tramadol Cause Withdrawal Symptoms In The Baby After Birth?
Intake of opioids (tramadol) during pregnancy can result in withdrawal symptoms in the newborn. The group of symptoms is described as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and appears in the first week of the baby’s life.
The symptoms include vomiting, irritability, and faster heart rate. However, your doctor will arrange a unit in the hospital to monitor and treat the baby from these symptoms (6).
General Precautions To Follow While Taking Tramadol
Take these steps before consuming tramadol:
- Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to any of the active ingredients of tramadol.
- Tell your doctor about all the prescribed and non-prescribed medications you take regularly. Medications including anticoagulants and antidepressants interact with tramadol and can affect your health adversely.
- Inform your doctor about the herbal supplements and prenatal vitamins you might be taking.
- If you have any chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, breathing disorder or lung infections, tell your doctor about them.
- Discuss your medical history, including any surgical treatment for any ailments including cancers and tumors.
- Tramadol makes you drowsy. Do not drive cars after you take the drug.
Take tramadol only when your doctor strongly feels that the drug benefits you. You can also consult a chronic pain specialist who has experience assessing medications during pregnancy. Do not self-medicate, even if you have any traumatic or inflammatory pains. Always talk to your doctor first.
Did you take tramadol during pregnancy? Tell us about your experience in the comments section. tramadol