Published March 05, 2014
New research is raising concerns that pregnant women who take Tylenol could increase their unborn child’s risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The Danish study looked at 64,000 mothers and children and found that taking Tylenol one day a week during the first trimester can increase a child’s chances of developing ADHD.
Women take Tylenol for headaches, pain and fever during pregnancy, but the only time it should really be taken is to reduce a high fever. A high fever during pregnancy can be very dangerous as it can cause birth defects and other issues for the child. Avoiding it altogether is best for pregnant women, but it can be used when absolutely necessary.
Researchers found that timing was also important. Women who took Tylenol in their first trimester increased their child’s risk for developing ADHD by 9 percent. That’s because during this time, is when the nerves, endocrine and hormonal systems are developing. Women who took Tylenol in their third trimester increased the risk by 28 percent, and women who took the drug in multiple trimesters increased saw their risk increase to 68 percent.
Currently, there is nothing on the market that is 100 percent safe. The one medication that women could rely on in the past was acetaminophen; however, now that has changed with recent reports of the drug being linked to liver toxicity. And both ibuprofen and aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding, which can lead to miscarriage.
More research is needed to find out why is this happening, whether it is affecting maternal hormones or the brain and liver of the unborn child. But we do know that Tylenol is an endocrine disrupter and has the potential to change hormones in children.
But this is not to say that Tylenol is bad – overall, it’s very safe for the majority people when taken appropriately.
The bottom line: If you are faced with pain, headache or fever during your pregnancy, talk with your OB-GYN to find out what’s best for you based on your medical history to minimize risk for yourself and your unborn child.