About Acetaminophen & Pregnancy
Acetaminophen is a well-known painkiller used to treat mild to moderate pain, as well as fever. You may take it as Tylenol or as an active ingredient in other medications. Although it’s one of the safest medications to take while you’re pregnant, doing so under the advice of a doctor or pharmacist is paramount for both your safety and that of your developing child.
Use the least amount of acetaminophen necessary to treat mild to moderate pain. Keep daily consumption of this drug under 4,000 milligrams. This includes other drugs containing acetaminophen, so check the ingredients of other medications you may be taking. Also, if you’re anemic, or suffer from kidney or liver disease, see your health professional before starting acetaminophen.
Cognitive Disorder and Miscarriage Risks
There is no link between a mother’s use of acetaminophen during pregnancy and long-term cognitive defects. 4-year-olds whose mothers used the drug during the time they were expecting showed no signs of abnormally low IQ or cognitive abilities. Also, no proven risks of miscarriages exist. However, if you take more than the recommended dosage, you can put both yourself and your unborn baby at risk for kidney and liver failure — or both.
Links to Asthma
Acetaminophen use during pregnancy has been linked to the development of asthma and allergies in young children. Allergist James Thompson, M.D., points out that the drug has been known to reduce the levels of glutathione in the lungs, which is the antioxidant that controls the amount of harmful free radicals in the lungs and the tissue surrounding them. A study by the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health corroborates this link. A mother exposed to this drug is likely to have a child with asthma symptoms by the time he’s 5.
Have your doctor run a complete physical examination on you once you are expecting. This way you can find out if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, allergies or any other condition of which you may be unaware. This could affect whether it’s advisable for you to take acetaminophen during your pregnancy, depending on other medications your doctor prescribes for you to treat these conditions, and on their reaction to the drug.
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