Intake of Acetaminophen by Expecting Mothers may Increase the Risk of Autism in Child

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By Neucrad Health News Desk December 22, 2019

Are you experiencing pains and body aches during pregnancy? Have you taken acetaminophen for some quick relief? If these are related to you, then its time to become more conscious about medication during the gestation period. It is a fact that medicine intake during pregnancy can directly impact the foetus through the placental blood. According to Dr Xiaobin Wang, director of Early Life Origins of Disease, intake of acetaminophen during pregnancy can increase the risk of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism in the unborn child. Approximately two-third American women prefer acetaminophen to combat their pain. So, this finding is a cause of worry for many expecting mothers.

Why are doctors cautious about the exposure of acetaminophen for the foetus?

A group of researchers conducted a study on the mother’s blood samples during pregnancy and the umbilical cord blood of the new-born. Their findings suggested that there is two times more chance of developing congenital deformities like ADHD in children if expecting mothers intake acetaminophen.

Fetus, Placenta, Umbilical Cord, Pregnancy, Embryo

Acetaminophen tends crossing over to the placenta and enter the baby’s organ system. Presence of external chemicals in the delicate organs of the foetus can lead to malfunctioning of the system.

What is the basis of the warning against acetaminophen?

The research team has conducted a study on rats. They found that acetaminophen intake during pregnancy impact the brain cells and alter some hormone levels. Later on, the group undertook an analysis of the effect of this medicine on a study group of 1000 children with an average age of 10 years. More than 50 per cent of this group were boys, and their mothers consumed acetaminophen during gestation. The results suggested that about 26 per cent of these children manifested ADHD, 7 per cent had autism, while another 4 per cent had both ADHD and autism. An estimated 30 per cent of these kids demonstrated other developmental deformities.

These findings made the research team cautious about the prescription of acetaminophen during pregnancy. However, it is worth mentioning that these findings cannot establish a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between the intake of acetaminophen and the development of congenital deformities. Moreover, the study group of only 1000 children is not enough to pinpoint the adverse effects of the medicine. More research needs to be carried out in this sector to find out confirmatory facts about the effect of acetaminophen.

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

An image of children
People with ADHD may find it more difficult than others to focus on and complete tasks such as schoolwork.

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental condition where children find it challenging paying attention to a subject or control their impulsive behaviours. This developmental deformity can impact the social and school life of children as they remain overtly hyperactive. There are three types of ADHD- predominantly inattentive, predominantly hyperactive (impulsive), and a combination of both the previous symptoms. Both boys and girls have an equal probability of developing ADHD, and in most cases, this condition gets detected during the early school years.

What is autism?

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Autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of conditions where an individual experiences challenges with communications and behaviour. The affected person faces difficulties in demonstrating social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication. Usually, their skills develop unevenly. They may experience trouble in school learning, but be exceptionally good in a specific skill like music, memory, or mathematics. According to the statistics maintained by the Centres for Disease Control, approximately 1 out of 59 kids in the United States experiences Autism. In most children, the condition gets diagnosed by the second year of their life.

This was all about the effect of intake of acetaminophen during pregnancy. As already pointed out, we require more research on this subject to come to a definite conclusion. However, it is better to remain cautious during pregnancy, as the ten months of gestation are one of the most blissful moments in the life of women.

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