Can You Use Biofreeze While Pregnant

Pregnancy brings many changes to a woman’s body, including increased aches and pains as muscles and joints loosen to accommodate the growing baby. The extra weight carried during pregnancy can further strain the back, hips, and legs. To manage common pregnancy discomforts, some women consider using menthol-based topical pain relievers like Biofreeze. But can you use Biofreeze while pregnant, and is it safe?

This article provides an evidence-based look at using Biofreeze during pregnancy to help you make an informed decision.

What Is Biofreeze?

Biofreeze is an over-the-counter topical analgesic marketed for temporary relief of muscle and joint aches and pains. So, can you use Biofreeze when pregnant? The answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no. This topical agent creates a cooling sensation on the skin that helps distract from pain signals. Its main active ingredient is menthol, along with other natural ingredients like camphor, aloe, arnica, and calendula.

Biofreeze is available as a gel, roll-on, spray, or patch and is applied directly to the localized painful area. It is not absorbed into the bloodstream like oral medications. The combination of cooling and mild numbing sensations provides temporary pain relief.

Potential Benefits of Using Biofreeze While Pregnant

Pregnant Girl


The localized cooling effect of Biofreeze may help provide relief from common pregnancy discomforts like:

  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Muscle strains and soreness
  • Tight, overworked muscles
  • Inflammation

Additionally, the menthol scent can aid with nausea, a frequent pregnancy symptom. Because Biofreeze is applied topically and not ingested, it allows for targeted pain relief without unnecessary medication exposure for the baby.

Is Biofreeze Safe During Pregnancy?

Is it safe to use Biofreeze while pregnant? Can you use pain relief patches while pregnant? These questions don’t have clear-cut answers. There is limited research on the safety of menthol-based products like Biofreeze during pregnancy. While the risk is low with minimal use, it’s wise to exercise caution since the menthol could potentially be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Given the lack of comprehensive research, the use of Biofreeze during pregnancy remains a personal choice that should be guided by your healthcare provider. They can weigh the potential risks and benefits based on your specific circumstances.

According to the company, Biofreeze has not been tested on pregnant women. So pregnant women are advised to consult their doctor before using it.

FDA Pregnancy Categories

The FDA previously categorized drug risks during pregnancy from A to X. However, over-the-counter drugs like Biofreeze were not included in this rating system. So there is no FDA category assigned to Biofreeze to help gauge its pregnancy safety.

How to Use Biofreeze While Pregnant

Attractive young pregnant girl

The question, “Can you use muscle rub while pregnant?” just like Biofreeze, is best answered by a healthcare provider.

If your provider determines Biofreeze may be appropriate for use during your pregnancy, take certain precautions. One crucial tip is to test Biofreeze on a small skin area first to ensure you do not react adversely.

Here are some other precautions you can take to minimize any potential risks:

  • Use a thin layer of gel instead of spray or roll-on 
  • Avoid using it on the abdomen or chest
  • Wait 10 minutes before showering to allow full absorption
  • Limit use to 4-5 times daily as needed
  • Wash hands after application and avoid eyes/mouth
  • Use the lowest amount needed for the shortest time

Follow all usage directions carefully and stop use if any concerning side effects develop. Keep your provider informed of your usage and any reactions. Take a cautious approach until more definitive pregnancy safety data becomes available.

Remember, using Biofreeze should be just like using any pregnancy-safe muscle rub: use the minimum amount needed for the shortest time.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

Can Biofreeze hurt you? Understand that for most adults, Biofreeze is safe when used occasionally and as directed. However, side effects of Biofreeze can include mild skin irritation, rash or burning, and increased absorption with broken skin. Pregnant women may face additional risks.

  • Mild skin irritation, rash, or burning
  • Increased absorption with broken skin  
  • Allergic reaction to menthol or other ingredients
  • Interaction with homeopathic remedies

Pregnant Women May Face Additional Risks Like:

For pregnant women, additional side effects may be possibly related to hormones, absorption, and developmental impacts.

  • Excessive or frequent use could potentially allow menthol and camphor to cross into the bloodstream.
  • Skin sensitivity tends to increase during pregnancy, making irritation more likely.
  • Small amounts could also be transmitted through breast milk to a nursing infant.
  • Perhaps most critically, these ingredients could theoretically disrupt fetal development if they reach the baby in utero.

While the risks are likely low with cautious use, a lack of research makes it difficult to fully predict other potential side effects. It is wise for pregnant women to exercise extreme caution, consult their doctor, and opt for safer alternatives whenever possible.

If Biofreeze is used during pregnancy, any side effects should prompt immediate discontinuation and medical consultation.

Alternative Pain Relief Options During Pregnancy

If you’re concerned about using Biofreeze and wondering, “Can you use pain relief patches while pregnant” or “Is it ok to use Biofreeze while pregnant?” consider discussing alternative pain relief options with your healthcare provider, such as lidocaine patches during pregnancy.

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) – Use only as directed
  • Heating pads or warm baths
  • Prenatal massage
  • Physical therapy 
  • Acupuncture
  • Support belts
  • Light exercise and stretching
  • Rest and elevation

Your doctor can help determine the safest and most effective pain management plan for you during pregnancy. Do not take any new medication or use topical products without medical approval.

Additional Considerations for Breastfeeding Mothers

For breastfeeding mothers asking, “Can you sleep with Biofreeze patch,” it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider first. As Biofreeze can be absorbed and potentially transferred to the infant, it is advised to be cautious.

When using Biofreeze while breastfeeding, the application should be limited to areas away from the chest and breasts. Only a thin layer should be applied for the shortest duration needed. Hands should be thoroughly washed after application to avoid accidental ingestion by the infant.

Signs of sensitivity in the breastfeeding baby should be monitored, including drowsiness, change in feeding patterns, or skin rashes. Usage should be discontinued if any concerns arise, and a doctor should be consulted.

While Biofreeze can offer relief from aches and pains associated with nursing, there are alternative options that may be recommended as safer by your provider. These include hot/cold compresses, nursing bras, massage, and acetaminophen if needed for pain. As always, it is best to err on the side of caution when breastfeeding.

Examining the Research on Menthol and Pregnancy

As a topical medication that creates feelings of cooling and numbness, Biofreeze relies heavily on the natural compound menthol for its pain relief effects. Given the lack of comprehensive research, the question, “Is Biofreeze good for back pain during pregnancy,” can’t be definitively answered. However, some studies suggest menthol can offer some relief. Menthol is known to provide analgesic effects by activating cooling receptors in the skin. This helps reduce the perception of pain.

However, there is limited research specifically examining the effects of menthol on pregnant women or developing fetuses. One review published in 2018 looked at the use of menthol-containing creams for pain relief during pregnancy. It found that most studies were of low quality and offered inconclusive evidence regarding safety and efficacy.

One study did find that applying menthol cream during pregnancy was associated with lower reports of pain compared to placebo. However, more high-quality studies are still needed to determine if the benefits of menthol outweigh the potential developmental risks to the baby.

Some Concerns with Menthol Use During Pregnancy Include:

  • Absorption into the bloodstream
  • Transfer across the placenta to the fetus
  • Excretion into breastmilk
  • Interaction with hormone levels
  • Impact on uterine contractions

However, these concerns are largely theoretical due to limited research. Always discuss using menthol-based medications like Biofreeze with your obstetrician first during pregnancy or breastfeeding. They can help determine appropriate usage based on your situation.

While menthol itself may offer pain relief benefits, current evidence on its safety during pregnancy is lacking. Further studies directly evaluating menthol-based therapies in pregnant women are warranted to provide clearer guidance about its risks and benefits.

Can You Use Biofreeze While Pregnant Common FAQs

Here are a few FAQs on Biofreeze use in pregnancy, which may further answer your question, “Can you use Biofreeze when pregnant?” or clarify some Biofreeze pregnancy concerns.

Is Biofreeze Safe to Use in the First Trimester?

There is insufficient research to confirm if Biofreeze is safe during the first trimester. Discuss with your doctor before using in any trimester. Use the minimum amount needed for the shortest duration.

Can I Use Biofreeze If I’m Breastfeeding?

Small amounts of menthol may pass into breast milk after using Biofreeze. Consult your doctor first and use it sparingly on areas away from the chest while nursing.

Will Biofreeze Harm My Baby If I Use It?

When used correctly under medical supervision, risks to the baby are low. But excessive use could potentially allow menthol absorption and disrupt fetal development.

Where Can I Safely Apply Biofreeze During Pregnancy?

Avoid using Biofreeze on the abdomen, chest, or areas near the womb. Apply only to extremities like hands, arms, legs, and feet.

Are There Any Pregnancy-safe Alternatives to Biofreeze?

Yes, discuss options like acetaminophen, heating pads, prenatal massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, or support belts with your doctor.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re questioning, “Is it safe to use Biofreeze while pregnant,” it’s best to exercise caution and consult with your obstetrician before using Biofreeze or any untested remedy while pregnant or breastfeeding.

While some pregnant women find Biofreeze helpful for relieving aches and pains, there is limited research on its safety during pregnancy.

Consider safer alternatives first, and if approved by your provider, use the minimum amount of Biofreeze needed for the shortest duration. Pay close attention to any side effects whenever you are asking yourself, “Can you use Biofreeze while pregnant? With some care and guidance from your doctor, Biofreeze can likely be used moderately during pregnancy to manage muscle and joint discomforts. But when in doubt, avoid using it until after pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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