You wouldn't dream of pumping a newborn full of powerful painkillers like ibuprofen -- yet nearly a fifth of all pregnant women take these meds during pregnancy... and it's killing their unborn children.

Some of the most common painkillers of all -- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen -- can dramatically boost the risk of miscarriage.

Canadian researchers compared data on 4,705 women who suffered a miscarriage during the first five months of pregnancy to 45,050 women who did not, and found that those who took the painkillers had 2.4 times the risk.

Putting that into stark real terms, a woman has a 15 percent risk of miscarriage right off the bat -- but if she's been popping these painkillers, that risk shoots up to 35 percent.

And believe it or not, those numbers might be on the low side: The researchers used prescription drug records, not self-reported use, to figure out who had taken the painkillers.

That leaves out the scores of women who take over-the-counter drugs -- because in Canada, as in the United States, both ibuprofen and naproxen are widely available.

Other NSAIDs include rofecoxib, diclofenac and celecoxib -- but don't put too much effort into memorizing those names. Most of the drugs that have become a common part of the household medicine chest aren't nearly as safe as you've been led to believe, and that's especially true during pregnancy.

On the other hand, you never needed those drugs in the first place -- and pregnancy is a great opportunity to wean yourself off them for good as you explore the safe and effective nondrug alternatives that have helped millions beat pain, even during pregnancy.

One study a couple years back found that 81 percent of pregnant women who suffered from back pain got at least some relief from acupuncture -- versus 59 percent of women who got a sham treatment.

The needles don't hurt -- in fact, you'll barely feel them.

But if acupuncture's not for you, try a good rub: Not only is massage therapy proven to bring pain relief to pregnant women, but it also can have a powerful stimulating effect on the immune system.

And that's something that can benefit mom and baby alike.