Paracetamol intake during pregnancy can be problematic

Paracetamol intake during pregnancy can lead to hyperactivity and attention disorders in children.

Pregnancy is often considered to be a tricky phase. From diet to exercise, there are a lot of things to be taken care of. Especially medication, because what you take in also reaches your baby. With this as its highlight, a new study has revealed that taking paracetamol when you’re pregnant can lead to behaviour problems in children.

The research, published in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology studied the effects of paracetamol intake in mid-pregnancy, and the behaviour of newly-born children from an age of 6 months to 11 years. Their IQ and memory were tracked till they turned 17.

Jean Golding, lead author of the study said, “Our findings add to a series of results concerning evidence of the possible adverse effects of taking paracetamol during pregnancy such as issues with asthma or behaviour in the offspring. It reinforces the advice that women should be cautious when taking medication during pregnancy and to seek medical advice where necessary."

About 14,000 children were examined with the help of questionnaires school data from Bristol's Children of the 90s study. When their mothers were studied for medication during pregnancy, 43 per cent admitted to taking paracetamol “sometimes” or more often during their mid-pregnancy stage.

The parameters considered by the researchers included IQ, children’s memory, behaviour measures along with pre-school tests and temperament measures. The study established that there was a relationship between differences in children behaviour like hyperactivity and paracetamol intake by mothers. Another thing the researchers noticed was that boys were prone to being impacted by possible effects of the drug compared to girls.

"It is important that our findings are tested in other studies - we were not in a position to show a causal link, rather an association between two outcomes," Golding added. Nonetheless, studies between other factors that cause behavioural problems are still going on.

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