Prenatal paracetamol use may be linked to childhood asthma, says study

Prenatal paracetamol use may be linked to childhood asthma, says study

There's no need to be worried, pregnant mums. Moderation is the key to all things -- including paracetamol use during pregnancy.

A new study conducted in Norway has found that taking paracetamol (also known as acetaminophen) during pregnancy is linked with a slight increase in the risk for asthma in children.

Researchers of the study -- the results of which were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology --analysed data on 95,200 pregnant mums between 1999 and 2008. They also followed 53,169 of these mothers' children after birth.

Health data was collected from questionnaires completed by the mums on medication use for themselves and their children.

The results

After controlling for health and behavioral characteristics, researchers discovered that prenatal paracetamol exposure was linked with a 13 percent increased risk for asthma by the time the child turned three.

Furthermore, the more paracetamol the mum took during pregnancy, the higher the risk of asthma in the child.

The study design took into account and minimised the possibility that this increased risk was caused by an illness contracted during pregnancy, rather than by the paracetamol only.

Given this, it was found that the link between the two still remained whether the mother took the paracetamol for pain, fever, flu or any other respiratory tract infection.

No cause for alarm

Lead author of the study Maria C. Magnus of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health told The New York Times, “Based on this modest increased risk, there is no need to be concerned if a child has been exposed. It might be possible to limit the amount of Tylenol (which contains paracetamol) used, but mothers should not be afraid to use it when necessary.”

UK-based NHS Choices says that "the results of this study will probably need to be replicated in larger populations before official advice on paracetamol use in pregnancy and infancy are changed."

Also, maternal paracetamol use outside pregnancy and paternal paracetamol use were not associated with asthma development.

For more on asthma in children, please read the following theAsianparent articles:

Do remember that there are many causes of asthma in children, and this is an area that is still being researched on extensively.

If you are pregnant and have any health or other concerns, please seek your doctor's opinion without delay.

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