Preggo people, listen up! You’ve probably heard from friends, family, and your OB/GYN that acetaminophen (you know, the active ingredient in Tylenol) is a relatively harmless pain medication. It’s basically the one of the only thing we’re allowed to take over-the-counter while the buns in our ovens cook. But a new study suggests that we should think twice before popping one of these pills for our pregnancy aches.
According to the journal JAMA Pediatrics, there’s a chance that taking acetaminophen during pregnancy can cause behavioral issues for our kids down the road. The study included 7,796 pregnant mamas (and their partners and kids) and found that moms who took acetaminophen at 18 and 32 weeks gestation reported a slew of behavioral problems with their babies later on.
The study began back in 1991-92 in Avon, England, where they first studied the pregnant moms and their use of the pain med. Then they followed up once their kids reached age 7 to see if there were any patterns to report.
Of the moms who took acetaminophen at 18 weeks, 31% were more likely than those who didn’t use the drug to report that their kids had conduct issues, and 42% were more likely to note that their children exhibited symptoms of hyperactivity. Moms who used the medication at 32 weeks gestation were also 29% more likely to report emotional problems in their kiddos, and 42% more likely to report a number of other behavioral issues.
Where does that leave pregnant folks? While researchers are still hoping to study the matter further (as they should), it seems like the best bet is to try and stay away from the pain med when possible (acetaminophen has other bizarre side-effects anyway, so it’s probably best only to take when necessary). That said, if you’re experiencing a fever or too much pain should definitely consult with your OB/GYN, as these pose a greater risk to the fetus overall.