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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Pregnant women who take paracetamol more likely to have a child with behavioural problems
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Pregnant women who take paracetamol more likely to have a child with behavioural problems image

Many women take paracetamol (acetaminophen) for pain and fever when they’re pregnant, assured that it’s safe—but new research has discovered that it causes a range of behavioural problems, including hyperactivity, in the child.

Around 5 per cent of children develop “multiple behavioural problems” after their mother had taken the painkiller while pregnant, say researchers at the UK’s University of Bristol.

In a review of 7,796 mothers, the researchers discovered that 95 per cent had taken paracetamol at 18 or 32 weeks of the pregnancy, and 89 per cent carried on taking the painkiller after the birth.

Five per cent of children whose mothers took paracetamol developed behavioural problems; those whose mothers took the drug at 18 weeks were more likely to suffer from behavioural and hyperactivity problems, and those whose mothers took the painkiller at 32 weeks had emotional problems.

Behavioural problems were reported when the child reached the age of five, and again two years later.


References

(Source: JAMA Pediatrics, 2016; doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.1775)

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