Tylenol During Pregnancy Tied to Asthma in Child

In a study published Dec. 18th, 2015, Norwegian researchers found that pregnant women who use Tylenol (or acetaminophen) during their pregnancies have a slight increase in the risk for asthma in their offspring. Health data on 95,200 pregnant mothers from 1999- 2008 was used and they followed 53,169 of their children, after birth (mothers also completed questionnaires on medication use for themselves and their children).

Using some controls for health and behavioral characteristics, the researchers found that exposure to Tylenol in the womb was , “associated with a 13 percent increased risk for asthma at age 3”, according to the article. The risk increased the more Tylenol the mother used.

Posted in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the study intended to discern whether the increased risk was due to illness or use of Tylenol.

From the Journal:

“The objective of the study was thus to examine the association of prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure with asthma development while addressing confounding by indication. To further assess whether the previously reported associations reflected unmeasured confounding, we evaluated maternal paracetamol use outside pregnancy and paternal paracetamol use. Since ibuprofen is used for many of the same indications as paracetamol, we also evaluated the association between prenatal ibuprofen exposure and asthma development.”

Lead author in the study, Maria C. Magnus, feels that mothers shouldn’t be worried if their children have been exposed saying, “Based on this modest increased risk, there is no need to be concerned if a child has been exposed. It might be possible to limit the amount of Tylenol used, but mothers should not be afraid to use it when necessary.”

Given that there are so many other ways to control pain, including non-toxic choices, it seems that while pregnant, staying away from Tylenol wouldn’t hurt. As always, women should make the choices they feel most comfortable with for themselves and their families but just never forget you have other options; for you and for your baby.

Source:NYTimes and International Journal of Epidemiology