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Behavioral issues found in children linked to mothers taking Tylenol during pregnancy


(NaturalNews) Many people mistakenly believe that acetaminophen, the painkiller in Tylenol, is a relatively safe medication. However, just because it's available over the counter does not mean that it cannot cause adverse effects. This is especially true when it comes to pregnant women.

Even the most cautious expectant mother doesn't think much of taking a Tylenol or two when a headache or other type of pain starts to become unmanageable, but a new study shows why this might not be the best idea.

According to a study published this week by the JAMA Pediatrics journal, women who used acetaminophen during their 18th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy were more likely to report a number of problematic behaviors when the child reached 7 years of age.

In fact, when compared to women who did not use the drug at 18 weeks of pregnancy, the women who took acetaminophen were 42 percent more likely to note hyperactivity in their children and 31 percent more likely to note conduct problems.

When it comes to acetaminophen use at 32 weeks of pregnancy, these women were 29 percent more likely to report emotional problems in their child at 7 years of age and 46 percent more likely to report behavioral problems.

The study involved nearly 8,000 mothers who gave birth from 1991 to 1992 in Avon, England. While it's important to note that the link is not necessarily an indication of cause and effect, it does fuel existing concerns that fetal exposure to the drug could lead to neurodevelopmental problems.

Past studies link maternal acetaminophen use to ADHD, asthma

Past epidemiological studies have shown a link between acetaminophen use in pregnancy and ADHD-like behavior. It is believed that the medication changes brain development by disrupting the developing fetus's hormone function.

A Danish study of 64,000 children, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics two years ago, pointed to a link between acetaminophen and a severe form of ADHD known as hyperkinetic disorder. Those mothers who took acetaminophen at some point during their pregnancy were actually 13 percent more likely to have children with ADHD problems and 37 percent more likely to have children with a hyperkinetic disorder.

The researchers accounted for the possibility that women who have a genetic predisposition to hyperactivity and similar behaviors are more likely to take acetaminophen during pregnancy in the first place. No such pattern was ultimately detected.

Meanwhile, a study published earlier this year in the International Journal of Epidemiology suggested that prenatal acetaminophen use was associated with a higher risk of asthma in children. Once again, a causal effect was not found, but the findings are enough to give some people pause.

More than half of pregnant women take acetaminophen

Acetaminophen has widely been considered safe for pregnant women to use,. In fact, more than half of all pregnant women in the U.S. and Europe are believed to have used it at some point of pregnancy. Aspirin and ibuprofen, on the other hand, are not considered safe for use during pregnancy. These latest studies on the effects of acetaminophen mean that the options for pregnant women experiencing pain are quickly dwindling.

Pregnant women already have a lot to worry about, from exposure to environmental toxins and pollution to the Zika virus. Expectant mothers who don't want to take any chances can turn to natural remedies to try to deal with pain. Yoga is one great way to feel better, and gentle exercise can also help with pain. Some women find that going outside and spending time breathing fresh air and observing nature is a relaxing way to take their mind off of pain. Pregnancy can be a very challenging time, but having a healthy child is ultimately worth exercising that extra degree of caution for nine months.

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