Tylenol Used During Pregnancy Considered Highly Risky


Tylenol, a drug that was once considered to be safe for pregnant women to consume is now thought to be a risky drug. According to a newly published scientific study in journal JAMA Pediatrics, acetaminophen used during pregnancy may be linked to ADHD in unborn children.

This study which assesses how taking Tylenol during pregnancy involved over 64,000 participants. In this study Danish mothers were interviewed by researchers twice weekly while pregnant to discuss their pregnancy and whether or not they had consumed any amounts of Tylenol to reduce fevers or pain. Due to the researchers questioning the mothers before their children were born or could be diagnosed with ADHD, this greatly reduced what is called a “recall bias”, which is when a participant alters their behavior in an unnatural way due to knowledge of the study and it’s goals. As the children of the mothers in this study were born and developing, researchers gathered information regarding whether or not the children were diagnosed with ADHD.

The results of this study conclude that the children of pregnant women who took Tylenol or other pain and fever reducing drugs with acetaminophen had a 40 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with ADHD. It was also concluded that the riskiest time in pregnancy to take Tylenol is in the second and third trimesters, as most of the fetus’ brain development is occurring. The first trimester of pregnancy, scientists concluded, is the safest time for women to take Tylenol, as there is a much lower risk for the growing child to develop ADHD.

ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, causes several behaviors in children in including impulsiveness, reduced ability to pay attention, as well as constant fidgeting, among other behaviors. The symptoms of ADHD last through adulthood and can be managed through medication and in some cases diet. This hyperactivity disorder is thought to be causes due to a hormone disruption while the child is developing in the womb which affects the development of the brain. The research carried out in this recent study links Tylenol taken by mothers during pregnancy to a higher risk of ADHD in their children.

While the evidence put forth in this article points strongly towards the acetaminophen found in Tylenol ingested by pregnant mothers to create a higher risk for ADHD in their children, pregnant women can still take the drug, but with caution. While the research was conducted in a holistic and highly inclusive manner the prevalence of ADHD in children may not be solely due to Tylenol. The researchers have explained that while their study demonstrated a strong link between the drug and the disorder, other factors for a child to have ADHD include family history and genetics, as well as maladies contracted by the mother during her pregnancy.

Pregnant mothers are cautioned by the scientists in this study to take as little Tylenol and other drugs containing acetaminophen as possible during pregnancy.  Also, practitioners and scientists in no way suggest taking NSAIDS as an alternative to acetaminophen and Tylenol, as this can cause serious birth defects. Pregnant women are advised to whenever possible use natural methods to cure headaches, pains and muscle soreness, and resort to taking pain-reducing medications in low doses as a last effort as taking Tylenol during pregnancy may be highly risky.

By Allison Longstreet


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Los Angeles Times
NBC News

2 Responses to "Tylenol Used During Pregnancy Considered Highly Risky"

  1. Megan Oravetz   September 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    This is interesting research, although I am wondering if the researchers controlled for a potential ADHD diagnosis in the mothers? Perhaps mothers who took Tylenol were more likely to have ADHD. Since ADHD is highly heritable, this trend could account for the research findings. So, controlling for maternal ADHD diagnosis would help clarify the results. Anyways, I would be interested to learn more about this!

  2. Macklin Tweedie   February 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Tylenol is risky? That’s strange. Last time I checked, most people treated pregnancy like it was a disease…

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