Women who take the common painkiller ibuprofen for even short periods during early pregnancy could be harming the fertility of their daughters, a new study suggests.
French researchers found evidence that ibuprofen, when taken for just two to seven days in the first three months of pregnancy, can dramatically reduce the number of eggs baby girls end up with.
The painkiller was associated with a dramatic loss of the germ cells that go into making the follicles from which female eggs develop.
Ibuprofen was found to cross the placental barrier, with foetuses essentially exposed to the same concentration of the drug as the mother.
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"We found that two to seven days of exposure to ibuprofen dramatically reduced the germ cell stockpile in human foetal ovaries during the first trimester of pregnancy and the ovaries did not recover fully from this damage," Dr Severine Mazaud-Guittot, from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, said.
The study was published in the journal Human Reproduction.