Acetaminophen, sold under the brand name Tylenol, is one of the most commonly used pain medications, and doctors recommend using it to reduce fevers and cold and flu symptoms during pregnancy. But new research is causing pregnant women to question their intake of pain relievers.
A study recently published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics found that children of women who used acetaminophen during pregnancy appeared to be at a higher risk of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
More than 64,000 Danish children and mothers were interviewed, and more than half of the women reported using acetaminophen while pregnant. The study found that taking acetaminophen only one day a week during the first trimester can increase the child's chances of developing ADHD.
The researchers also found an association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and children's use of ADHD medications or having ADHD-like behaviors at 7 years old. The risk of these diagnoses seemed to increase when mothers used acetaminophen in more than one trimester during pregnancy.
Although the researchers found a correlation between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADHD-like behaviors, the researchers suggest that further investigations are needed. When two things are associated, it does not necessarily mean one thing causes the other.
It is important to have a discussion with your OB-GYN during your pregnancy about which medications are safe for you and your baby. Your doctor can guide you in deciding the best course of action.