'Safe' Headache Remedy for Pregnant Moms Could Harm Kids Later On

acetaminophenSheesh. Seems like practically everything human beings consume or are exposed to on a daily basis poses some sort of horrible risk to expecting moms -- just last week, we learned that phthalates have been linked to pre-term birth; this week, it's the "safest" over-the-counter remedy in everybody's medicine cabinet: Acetaminophen. Yup. You know, the magical headache-eraser/fever-reducer that, up until now, doctors have always recommended as probably the least harmful pharmaceutical painkilling option? Well, according to the latest study, using the stuff 28 times or more during pregnancy can lead to delayed motor and communication skills, as well as behavioral problems, in children later on.


Seriously?! I had my first baby with a midwife and my second with a traditional ob-gyn; both times, acetaminophen (generic, brand-name, whatever) was recommended to me as the first line of defense against pretty much whatever ailed me. They said it was safer than ibuprofen, and I believed them. 

On the one hand, I still do -- most of these "studies" are flawed, on some level, and often at least borderline inflammatory. But there are some rather startling bits of info, like this soundbite from one of the lead researchers:

“Long-term use of (acetaminophen) increased the risk of behavior problems by 70 percent at age three ... That is considerable.”

Yikes. I'll say. So what's an ailing mama-to-be supposed to do? Suffer?? 

I guess, as with all things, moderation is key. Still, if I happened to be pregnant right now, I'd definitely think twice before popping open a bottle of those pills.

Did you take acetaminophen while pregnant?


Image via sacks08/Flickr

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