Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is used by a large
proportion of pregnant women. Research suggests that
acetaminophen use in pregnancy is associated with
abnormal fetal neurodevelopment. However, it is
possible that this association might be confounded
by unmeasured behavioral factors linked to
To examine associations between offspring behavioral
problems and maternal prenatal acetaminophen use,
maternal postnatal acetaminophen use, and partnerís
acetaminophen use, from February 2015 to March 2016,
researchers collected and analyzed data from the
Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC),
a prospective birth cohort.
Scientists studied 7796 mothers enrolled in ALSPAC
between 1991 and 1992 along with their children and
Acetaminophen use was assessed by questionnaire
completion at 18 and 32 weeks of pregnancy and when
the child was 61 months old.
Maternal reports of behavioral problems using the
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) when
the children were 7 years old.
Researchers estimated risk ratios for behavioral
problems in children after prenatal, postnatal, and
partnerís exposure to acetaminophen and mutually
adjusted each association.
Maternal prenatal acetaminophen use at 18 and 32
weeks of pregnancy was associated with higher odds
of having conduct problems and hyperactivity
symptoms, while maternal acetaminophen use at 32
weeks was also associated with higher odds of having
emotional symptoms and total difficulties.
This was not the case for maternal postnatal or
partnerís acetaminophen use.
Researchers found the associations between maternal
prenatal acetaminophen use and all the SDQ domains
unchanged even after adjusting for maternal
postnatal or partnerís acetaminophen use.
Children exposed to acetaminophen prenatally are at
increased risk of multiple behavioral difficulties,
and the associations do not appear to be explained
by unmeasured behavioral or social factors linked to
acetaminophen use insofar as they are not observed
for postnatal or partnerís acetaminophen use.
Although these results could have implications for
public health advice, further studies are required
to replicate the findings and to understand
Study finds paracetamol use in pregnancy can cut
female fertility (2016-01-28)
Paracetamol use in pregnancy and reproductive health
problems in young boys (2015/05/24)
For more information
Association of Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy
With Behavioral Problems in ChildhoodEvidence