Using Acetaminophen While Pregnant Raises Risk of ADHD in Children


Anyone who has ever been pregnant understands that there are several restrictions that need to be adhered to in order to make sure that the unborn child is kept as safe as possible.  Many doctors will tell expecting mothers to avoid sushi or raw fish while others will tell them to avoid using aspirin or other pain medications that could harm the development of the fetus.  For years, many medical professionals have advised expecting mothers to use pain medications that contain acetaminophen if they needed that type of temporary pain relief.  Of course, this has led many pregnant women to use Tylenol.

That recommendation from doctors may cease to exist in the coming years if the results of a recent study out of Denmark prove to be accurate.  The researchers who completed the study have concluded that consuming acetaminophen while pregnant could lead to a higher risk for a child ultimately being diagnosed with ADHD, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.  A link to an article describing the study can be found here.  While many feel that the study is only a first look at a potential issue and not necessarily definitive, it has prompted reactions around the world.

The researchers in Denmark reviewed the records and answers to inquiries regarding more than 64,000 children who were born there between the years of 1996 and 2002.  The study revealed that more than half of the mothers had used some form of acetaminophen while they were pregnant.  The data further revealed that those mothers who had used acetaminophen while pregnant had children that were more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or an ADHD-like problem by the time they were seven years old.  Of particular risk were children whose mothers had used acetaminophen during more than one trimester of a pregnancy.

The basic conclusion drawn by the researchers is that while this study does not prove causation, the results are such that the world of medical science should take a much closer look at the potential risks associated with acetaminophen.  If it turns out that this substance can lead to neurodevelopmental problems for children later in their lives, it could lead to different recommendations regarding which medications should be avoided.

Doctors who help expecting mothers through their pregnancies need to be aware of these potential problems as early as possible.  They need to be able to steer their patients away from unnecessary dangers so that every chance is given for the unborn child to emerge in the world as healthy as possible.  Not enough is known yet with regards to acetaminophen, but there are other substances out there that can cause substantial harm to unborn children.

If your child was born with a severe health problem and you believe it was because of bad advice given by your doctor during your pregnancy, contact the New York medical malpractice lawyers at the Fitzgerald Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule a free initial consultation.