Did you know a study published in the 4-24-18 American Journal of Epidemiology found that prolonged use of acetaminophen during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention defici t/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
The 6-7-18 issue of Medscape (a medical website for doctors that evaluates research) gave an evaluation of the study. Investigators reviewed studies and found a 30% increase in ADHD and a 20% increase for ASD in children whose mothers took acetaminophen during pregnancy, compared to children whose mothers did not.
This was an observational study, which basically means that they are making observations from large groups of people, then making conclusions based on the data they collected. This is not the gold standard in research because while the data showed the increased risk they cannot be sure that acetaminophen is actually the cause of the increased risk since these people are not kept in cages. This means that the recommendation of acetaminophen to pregnant women for pain will not change from this study alone.
Acetaminophen is the most commonly used analgesic medication during pregnancy. Previous research has suggested that acetaminophen may increase the risk for neurodevelopmental disorders.
One of the big questions with this research is how much acetaminophen does it take to cause harm, and obviously we do not know. The duration of exposure varied from 7 to 28 days, and throughout pregnancy.
Maternal age was a significant factor in that younger mothers had a decreased risk. Additionally they were looking at prolonged exposure and feel that it is still safe in the short term according to Ilan Matok,PhD the study’s lead investigator. He also pointed out that acetaminophen is used for fever and that especially high fever is more dangerous to the mother and fetus than acetaminophen.
Matok recommended that pregnant women who experience symptoms for “longer periods of time, who then are likely to take more than a few acetaminophen doses” should consult their physicians about treatment approaches to their conditions.
This is another reason that we need to improve the utilization of non-drug approaches to pain. There is research showing that Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to treat pain during pregnancy. We actually have tables that open in the middle so the mother can lie on her stomach ( I have adjusted women on the day of delivery). From headaches, to low back pain Chiropractic care should be the first choice for pain during pregnancy. Click here are a consultation.