But we all thought popping paracetamol was harmless… What’s up?
According to JAMA Pediatrics, acetaminophen (paracetamol) is used by a large proportion of pregnant women. But now research suggests that acetaminophen use in pregnancy is associated with abnormal fetal neurodevelopment.
Note: it is possible that this association might be confounded by unmeasured behavioural factors linked to acetaminophen use.
A study involving 7 796 mothers assessed their use of acetaminophen (paracetamol) at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy, as well as post-natally. Children were assessed for behavioural issues at seven years old.
Although dosages and length of time acetaminophen was taken by pregnant women were not charted, at 18 and 32 weeks any use was associated with conduct and hyperactivity in children.
Taking acetaminophen at 32 weeks increased risk of emotional symptoms and overall behavioural problems in children.
Postnatal use of acetaminophen was not linked to behavioural issues.
It is noted that just five percent of children involved in the study presented with behavioural issues and that the maternal issues that acetaminophen addresses during pregnancy (fever and pain) need to be considered against the risks to offspring.
Still, we’re a bit shaken by this. Moms-to-be: think twice before you reach for that painkiller – just in case.
Not sure about the other health-risks associated with pregnancy? Here’s what you need to know about eating seafood if you’re pregnant.
Oh, and FYI – it is totally possible to go 9 months without even realise you’re actually pregnant. Read this real-life account of what’s it’s like to suddenly discover you’re about to have a baby.