Using Tylenol During Pregnancy May Be Linked to ADHD

If Tylenol or other medications containing acetaminophen are your pain relievers of choice, there's something you should know: new evidence indicates that taking Tylenol during pregnancy could be linked to ADHD.

64,000 families in the Danish National Birth Cohort took part in the study, Forbes reports. The mothers filled out questionnaires that asked questions both about the frequency of their acetaminophen use during pregnancy and about their children’s behavior; also considered were official diagnoses of a severe type of ADHD known as hyperkinetic disorder (HKD) and the number of prescriptions for ADHD medications like Ritalin.

They found that more than half the mothers used acetaminophen while pregnant — and that use of it correlated with both a 30 percent increase in risk for ADHD in children under the age of seven and a 37 percent increase in risk for HKD. The odds of children being prescribed ADHD medication rose by a whopping 50 percent.

Of course, if there’s one thing I took away from high school science, it’s that correlation is not causation. The authors of the study acknowledge this fact: Behavior problems can be caused by a wide variety of genetic and environmental factors; additionally, there may be other factors at play that haven’t yet been discovered. If, however, you believe in the old mantra, “better safe than sorry,” it might be best to avoid taking acetaminophen if you’re expecting. It can’t hurt, right?