The On-Again, Off-Again Relationship With Tylenol And Pregnancy

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Studies go back and forth about the safety of various pain relievers during pregnancy. Currently, ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) is advised against, since it may be associated with congenital heart defects when taken during the first trimester (although a dose is very unlikely to cause any damage). The alternative? Acetaminophen, sold under brand name Tylenol. And while this may be safe for pregnant women, and even their babies, it’s their 3 year olds who are now in question.

In a new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, Norwegian researchers found prenatal exposure to Tylenol was linked to a 13 percent increased risk for asthma by age 3. Regardless of the reason mom took Tylenol–aches, flu, fever—the association was the same. And the more she took, the higher the risk.

Already took some Tylenol? Researchers urge you not to worry.

“Based on this modest increased risk, there is no need to be concerned if a child has been exposed,” lead author Maria C. Magnus tells The New York Times. “It might be possible to limit the amount of Tylenol used, but mothers should not be afraid to use it when necessary.”

Still, a 2014 study questions whether or not Tylenol’s effective in all use cases. While deeming the drug safe for pregnant women, the George Institute for Global Health indicated acetaminophen did nothing to relieve lower back pain.

Has Tylenol helped alleviate your pregnancy aches and pains? Let us know in the comments below.