Mothers should not take acetaminophen during pregnancy
In general, expectant mothers should be careful about which medications they take during their pregnancy. Some acneia can harm not only the mother, but also the unborn child. Researchers found that women who take acetaminophen during pregnancy have an increased risk that their child will later suffer from hyperactivity.
During pregnancy, it is very important for expectant mothers to pay attention to the medication they are taking. Because some medicines can cause considerable harm to the unborn child. Scientists from the University of Bristol recently found in a study that taking paracetamol during pregnancy can lead to hyperactivity in the unborn child. The doctors published the results of their study in the medical journal "JAMA Pediatrics".
Active ingredient in acetaminophen is pain reliever and antipyretic
Children whose mothers take paracetamol during pregnancy have an increased risk of developing emotional or behavioral problems. The drug paracetamol is sometimes called acetaminophen. The active ingredient Tylenol contained in paracetamol has an analgesic and antipyretic effect, say the experts. But there also seem to be some relatively unknown side effects. For example, researchers reported that acetaminophen lowers our compassion.
Benefits and dangers must be carefully assessed
In their current study, the scientists found that more than half of all pregnant women in the United States and Europe use acetaminophen to treat colds, flu and insomnia, for example. Some people would also use the drug to treat osteoarthritis, although it has already been shown that acetaminophen does not help with osteoarthritis.
Mothers should be careful when using the drug and use it wisely, explains author Dr. Evie Stergiakouli from the University of Bristol. Mothers and doctors must carefully weigh the risks of using acetaminophen for the treatment of fever and pain against the possible risks to the child's health, the author adds.
Paracetamol during pregnancy can lead to autism and ADHD in the child
In general, maternal use of painkillers and other medications can have serious consequences for our children. Independent studies had recently shown that taking acetaminophen during pregnancy increases the risk of autism and ADHD. Other reasons why women should pay close attention to what medications they take during pregnancy.
Study examines data from 14,500 families
For their new study, the scientists analyzed the data from 14,500 families in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, an ongoing study by the University of Bristol in Great Britain. More than half of all mothers (4,415 women or 53 percent) reported using paracetamol within the first eighteen weeks of pregnancy. 3,381 (42 percent) of the women surveyed used it until the 32nd week of pregnancy. Postnatally, a total of 6,916 mothers (89 percent) and 3,454 of their partners (84 percent) used paracetamol, explains Dr. Stergiakouli.
Possible effects of paracetamol in pregnancy
The researchers also looked at other prenatal factors that could affect the child's attention. These included smoking, alcohol consumption, socio-economics and genetics. If mothers used paracetamol within the first 18 weeks of their pregnancy, the likelihood of developing hyperactivity and developing behavioral problems increased, the doctors say. If acetaminophen is used during the first 32 weeks of pregnancy, the likelihood of emotional symptoms, abnormal behavior, and hyperactivity increases.
The brain is particularly vulnerable to development
However, the scientists were unable to establish a causal link between the use of paracetamol during pregnancy and the negative effects on the development of affected children. For this reason, further studies are urgently needed, say the doctors. The human brain is still underdeveloped by the 15th month, and during that period it is exposed to a number of factors that may lead to behavior problems, the experts speculate.
Pain management during pregnancy
Mild pain (such as headache or back pain) is common during pregnancy, explain the doctors. Because of this, affected mothers often take acetaminophen. Paracetamol is very common in practice. The scientists advise that mothers should try to use other methods for pain relief, such as warming pillows, cold packs or massages. Paracetamol should be avoided during pregnancy. If they still need to take the drug, be sure to take minimal doses, the authors add.
Further investigations are urgently needed
The scientists' new study is now the fourth major study on the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and its effects on the so-called neuro-development of the child. Despite the indications of possible impairments, further studies are needed to better understand the exact causes of the relationship between the use of paracetamol and the development of hyperactivity. (as)