Is Tylenol Safe While Pregnant?

tylenol safe while pregnantDuring pregnancy, you are likely to experience regular cases of backache, fever, or headaches, which you can easily manage with over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen – also referred to as Tylenol.

Dr. Torbati, Tarzana OBGYN, warns against the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen, especially during late pregnancy, because they can interfere with fetal circulation and cause other adverse effects. However, there is evidence suggesting that taking Tylenol during pregnancy is also dangerous as the drug may increase the risk of the baby developing asthma or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

How dangerous is Tylenol for pregnant women?

According to most studies, the increased risk is small, and there is still no certainty that the drug itself is responsible for the resulting wheezing and asthma. But since an estimated 65 percent of pregnant women in the US use Tylenol at some point during their pregnancy, it is possible that a large number of children could have related problems

One mysterious thing about the use of acetaminophen as a pain killer is that no one knows for sure how it works, despite decades of use, yet it is known for its strange side effects.

Some experiments argue that the drug works by impeding the user’s ability to empathise. In other words, it undercuts the brain’s ability to perceive errors. When a user takes the drug after a vaccine, it is claimed to suppress the immune system.

How does Tylenol affect both asthma and ADHD rates?

Scientists speculate that the drug tweaks the immune system of pregnant women, or disrupts hormones, or alters growth factors in the developing brain, but there is no certainty.

Research suggests that the prevalence of asthma doubled from 1980 to 2000. During this period, there were concerns that children who took aspirin developed a rare condition called Reye’s syndrome, leading to a major shift to taking acetaminophen.

Based on this, rather weak, circumstantial evidence, scientists at King’s College London claimed that there was a connection between the rising use of acetaminophen and the asthma ‘epidemic’. The scientists argued that Tylenol caused a depletion of the body’s native antioxidant known as glutathione, causing inflammation of the lungs. This was back in 2000.

Years later, there is still no conclusive link between asthma and Tylenol. However, there is one 2016 study of Norwegian women and children that found that the prenatal use of acetaminophen led to a 13 percent increase in the risk of asthma for 7 year olds, and a 31 percent increase in the risk of hyperactivity. The authors later claimed that they may have missed some details, considering that they did not assess how often the drugs were taken, or why they were taken.

So, should pregnant women take Tylenol?

In 2015, the FDA reviewed evidence on Tylenol and developmental outcomes and claimed that it was “inconclusive”. No one proposes that pregnant women stop taking acetaminophen, since there is really no other alternative for fever. Additionally, untreated fever during pregnancy can have serious consequences, including premature birth.

So, experts recommend that women use the minimum amount possible, and seek alternative approaches to pain management for backaches, like acupuncture and meditation.