Is there anything more exciting than the birth of a child? If there is, I sure don’t know what it is.
Welcoming a new life to the family—whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling—is a joyous occasion. We all just want one thing, and that’s for the little one to come into this world healthy.
That’s why birth defects are so heartbreaking. And when it turns out they were entirely preventable, such as the ones that are linked to dozens of prescription drugs on the market, it’s positively devastating.
Popular pain pill linked to major birth defects
Now a new study has linked a widely prescribed pain pill used to treat nerve and muscle pain as well as fibromyalgia to serious birth defects. Lyrica (pregabalin) sales topped 4.8 billion last year, and it is drug giant Pfizer’s second best-selling product with over 9 million prescriptions written since the drug hit the market in 2005.
This isn’t the first bad news we’ve heard about this drug either. Lyrica has already been liked to vision issues, selling, muscle pain, heart problems and suicidal thoughts.
The multinational study, published in the journal Neurology, included pregnant women from seven different countries. And what researchers uncovered was shocking.
Lyrica linked to stillbirths & 3x more birth defects
Women taking Lyrica were three times more likely to have a child with birth defects. But it gets worse, the women taking the drug were also SIX TIMES more likely to have a child with some sort of central nervous system birth defect such as spina bifida.
And as if that weren’t devastating enough, your risk of having a stillbirth while on the pain pill may skyrocket too.
This is not a cause-and-effect study, so we need more research to be done to uncover how deep the association is between this drug and these horrific outcomes. However the findings are already truly heartbreaking since there are effective alternatives. Safe, drug-free solutions that can alleviate your pain while protecting your baby.
3 drug-free pain relief options that protect your baby
Whether you’re pregnant or not these three safe pain relievers could help drive away your aches and pains without drug side effects.
This ancient practice has been relieving pain for literally centuries with no side effects. It can be particularly effective at relieving nerve and muscle pain. For example in a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine acupuncture was far more effective (three times more!) at treating chronic neck pain than prescription drugs.
Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system releasing pain-squashing endorphins while supporting your immune system and stimulating a natural anti-inflammatory and healing response.
In fact, acupuncture performed by a certified medical acupuncturist like myself not only can effectively relieve all kinds of pain, it’s entirely safe to do while pregnant. Some women even use it to help ease childbirth pain!
You can find a qualified medical acupuncturist near you by going to www.medicalacupuncture.org, the website of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture (AAMA).
This one surprises many folks, but it’s absolutely true… magnesium can be very useful for combatting chronic pain and fatigue.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to raise your magnesium levels is a warm relaxing bath with Epsom salts. As the warm water eases away your aches, your body will literally absorb the pain-relieving magnesium through your skin. (Just make sure it’s a warm bath and not a hot one.)
Magnesium supplements, up to 300 mg. a day, are typically safe for everyone including pregnant ladies. But if you are pregnant you should, as always, check with your own doctor before starting any new supplements.
Taking B vitamins can be an effective way to tackle nerve pain. In fact in some cases nerve pain can be triggered, or made worse, by low levels of vitamin B12.
If you’re pregnant your doctor may have already recommended a B complex to assure that you’re getting enough folic acid, or B9, to support your baby’s developing brain.
If you’re not already taking a B complex check with your doc about starting on one.
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