Is Tylenol Safe During Pregnancy?
You have a baby inside your bump and your body is constantly changing week-in-week-out. You feel change and discomfort is what eats up you from inside and the outside.
Specially during the first and the third trimester of pregnancy, you get hit by headaches frequently. There’s no sign or any warning and your head succumbs to pain that can become excruciating at times. The first medication that can come to your mind when you have a headache is Acetaminophen, commonly called as Tylenol.
A surge of hormones and increased blood volume is what gives you headache during pregnancy. Also, poor posture, lack of sleep, caffeine withdrawal, dehydration, and low blood sugar among others are some other causes that rings out your head.
But is Tylenol safe during pregnancy?
Let’s get the story uncovered…in detail.
What is Tylenol?
A common drug prescribed by doctors as a pain reliever and fever reducer, Tylenol is what most people name Acetaminophen for.
It is used in treatment of different health conditions including headache, backache, toothaches, arthritis, colds and fever.
Also called paracetamol in different parts of the world, this analgesic and antipyretic drug is one of the most used medicines throughout as an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Available in different forms, you can get Tylenol in tablets, liquids, capsules and even suppositories today.
The usual dose of Tylenol is 650 mg, generally taken every 4 hours up to 4 times in a day (24 hours) as required. However, the best thing to do is to visit a doctor and take it according to his prescription.
Said to be used by around 65% of all pregnant women, Tylenol was considered one of the safest analgesic for pregnant women before. But several stories and researches have uncovered about the side effects and the impact of this drug that can occur in the mother and the child.
Don’t get sick, seriously!
Tylenol ranks as a Category B drug. Category A is an award provided to drugs where “adequate and well-controlled studies” are performed to check for the risks during the first trimester only. So, there are some problems with taking Tylenol, but what?
Side Effects of Tylenol during pregnancy
Most woman develop around 3-5% chances of having a baby with birth defect today. This background risk generally occurs because of poor health conditions and taking medications that are associated with the risks.
Can Tylenol cause a background risk in pregnant women?
Tylenol can cause asthma
Yes, there are a few associations made regarding Tylenol being linked with cases of asthma in offspring.
A study by Norwegian researchers who recorded data on 95,200 pregnant mothers for 9 years in between 1999 and 2008 and researched on 53,169 children showed 13 percent increased risk for asthma.
Prenatal exposure to Tylenol increases the risk of asthma in new born babies. Mothers who took the medicine for flu, pain or fever had their babies under the age of three, more vulnerable to asthma.
Tylenol reduces testosterone production in the womb
Another study published in Science Translational Medicine has found that prolonged use of Tylenol during pregnancy affects male babies.
The study was carried out on mice with grafts of human tissues that were exposed to the drug and the amount of testosterone production dropped sharply by 45 percent after seven days.
Reduced testosterone problems in the womb results in several risks like testicular cancer, infertility and undescended testicles.
Tylenol can cause organ damage
Pregnant women who have liver or kidney problems are not advised to take Tylenol. A small dose, as prescribed by the doctor is fine but taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage, kidney damage and anemia.
The same has been reported in babies whose mothers had organ related problems.
Does Tylenol affect baby’s brain?
Absolutely not. No researches have been successful in finding associations of Tylenol with effects on baby’s brain.
A test carried out on children whose mothers took acetaminophen for a prolonged time during pregnancy had no effect in their IQ level, or their brain power.
When to avoid Tylenol during pregnancy?
Sometimes, medications don’t work as they should because of different health conditions in mother and babies. In some cases, some side effects can come with risks, and the drug should be avoided right away to recover.
Pregnant women should stop taking tylenol if:
- the fever continues even after 3 days of use
- the pain continues for more than 7 days (in mother) and 5 days (in child)
- skin rashes starts to appear
- redness or swelling in skin is seen
- signs like nausea, loss of appetite and pain in upper stomach start
- urine becomes dark and stools become clay-colored
Is it safe to take Tylenol during breastfeeding?
The dose that doctors prescribe, not more than 4,000 mg of Tylenol a day, that enter the breast milk is very less compared to the dose given to infants.
The WHO Working Group on Drugs and Human Lactation considers the medication safe during pregnancy.
However, prolonged use of the drug has seen to cause maculopapular rash on the upper trunk and face of a baby, and when discontinued, the problems were gone. This is not considered to be an adverse side effect and tylenol is considered absolutely safe during pregnancy.
Tylenol is still considered to be a safe drug and is believed to cause no harm in pregnant women. However, always seek help and suggestions regarding your health care providers regarding the usage of the drug during pregnancy.