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Tylenol During Pregnancy: A New No-No?

tylenol-pregnant-585When Jenn sent me a link to a news article linking taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) in pregnancy to ADHD in children, my response was along the lines of, “Women just have to suffer!” And I don’t mean that in a “women need to get tough” kind of way — I mean it in a, “Man, pregnancy is hard enough. Now pregnant women can’t even take Tylenol without worrying about its effect on their unborn child?” kind of way.

Because any mom who has gone through pregnancy deals with all of the second-guessing and questioning about every little thing we put into our bodies. Is caffeine okay? What about this herbal tea? Can I take anything for these miserable springtime allergies? Tylenol has always been the safe drug — the one you know gets the all-clear from your doctor for the aches and pains of pregnancy. So then this study came out, instilling fear into the hearts of pregnant moms everywhere.

But then an email landed in my inbox from the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, which was slightly less scary. In it, Dr. Vincenzo Berghella, president of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, says these results are interesting, but it’s premature to change the advice doctors give to patients. He goes on to say, “The study has a number of limitations, and its results need to be considered in context,” Berghella said. “The authors found a less-than-one-percent difference in risk.”

It’s also important to note that correlation doesn’t equal causation, with Berghella saying that the reason the acetaminophen was taken could have been the real culprit, and not the acetaminophen itself. Plus, the association with ADHD was mostly seen with prolonged use, sometimes weeks or months, a practice that is not typical of how acetaminophen is prescribed in most pregnancies.

So should you shun Tylenol completely because of any risks? Not necessarily. The experts further explains that high fever during pregnancy is associated with increased risk of complications, and women who don’t treat their fever just to avoid Tylenol might increase the risk of serious complications. As always, you should be in constant contact with your ob/gyn if you’re pregnant to find out what’s okay and what’s no okay to take. But like most everything, as long as you’re not overdoing it, you — and your baby — are likely just fine.

Did you take Tylenol when you were expecting? Or did/do you just suffer through and tough it out? —Erin

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