Now We Can’t Even Take Tylenol?

I’ve long believed there is a conspiracy to hold pregnant women down. We can’t have wine even though fabulous European women are having perfect pregnancies and babies with corkscrew in hand. We can’t eat sushi despite the fact the Japanese are giving birth to some of the most intelligent and creative people in the world. We have to limit our caffeine intake to 1/2 cup a day regardless of the fact the generation before us was overdosing on Tab soda and Marlboros. Perhaps if expectant women weren’t treated like children who don’t understand moderation and can’t control their urges, American women would be having healthier, happier pregnancies. Maybe then, we would even need less pain relief and this new acetaminophen study would be less alarming.

The study published in JAMA Pediatrics looked at about 65,000 people and found that children born to women who took tylenol at any point in their pregnancy had a 29% increased risk of being diagnosed with ADHD. The study does not prove any causal relationship however, so for now, it is just one more thing to worry about.

For me, when I have a headache or some muscle pain, tylenol does just as much to give me relief as wishing on a star. While it is a great fever reducer, it doesn’t have the anti-inflammatory component of ibuprofen. Pregnant women are advised to avoid ibuprofen completely during their pregnancy, even though it has only been shown to have detrimental side effects after 30 weeks gestation. So, I guess now, when a pregnant woman is in pain, she will just be expected to suffer in silence while biting down on a wooden spoon. I’m coming back in my next life as a man.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness Coach. She helps clients with parenting issues, the challenges of college and young adulthood and issues related to health and habits. Email her at to learn more. She is the author of the Audible Original, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents.


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