Tylenol, the brand name of acetaminophen, is a common pain reliever and helps to treat mild fever. The medicine is generally considered a safe painkiller during pregnancy for years. However, recently, a group of doctors and scientists released a consensus statement in Nature Reviews Endocrinology which found that taking Tylenol during pregnancy can affect the development of the growing fetus. Though it can temporarily heal your pain and fever, the medicine has the potential to create a permanent impact on the mother and the child. Read along to learn more about acetaminophen uses and its side effects.

Impacts of Tylenol during pregnancy

It is recommended to take acetaminophen to get relief from body aches and other pain associated with it. Even people with mild fever are advised to consume acetaminophen. However, during pregnancy, can one take acetaminophen as a painkiller medication? The answer to this question was ‘yes’ for years, but a shocking report by Nature Reviews Endocrinology found that the consequences might become severe and unresolvable. 

According to the research, acetaminophen when consumed might enter the fetal bloodstream through your placenta and this prenatal exposure can alter the infant’s development. This will result in increasing the risk of certain neurodevelopment, reproductive and urogenital disorders.

Tylenol side effects

Acetaminophen is an endocrine disruptor. It can interfere with hormones involved in growth and other related functions. When a pregnant woman consumes an excess amount of Tylenol during pregnancy, her child can get affected by certain conditions from the fetal stage to adulthood including: 

  1. Genital malformations in male children. Boy babies are more likely to be born with undescended testicles, a condition in which one or both of the baby’s testicles (testes) have not moved down into their proper place in the scrotum. This can cause infertility and can increase the risk of developing testicular cancer in a boy.
  2. Early puberty and irregular development of ovaries in female children.
  3. Behavioral abnormalities such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and autism in both male and female children.
  4. Difficulties in understanding languages and low IQ.

Steps to follow to avoid Tylenol side effects

Though Tylenol uses are more effective, it is not advisable for children. A pregnant woman can consume acetaminophen only if her doctor prescribed the drug.

  • Reduce consumption of acetaminophen during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  • Pregnant women can go for gel or other ointments for external usage to reduce pain rather than internal medicines.
  • For mild fever, one can try out home remedies before opting for Tylenol. If the home remedy didn’t work, then consult your doctor and go for less dosage than you usually take.
  • Instead of medication, try out ice packs, massages, support belts, or any other physical therapy recommended by your doctor. This way you can avoid Tylenol in your daily routine and during the entire pregnancy. 

Bottom Line

Painkillers are abundant in the country, and one can go for drugs that their doctors recommended. But pregnant women and children should be cautious before taking any medication. Though safe painkillers don’t cause immediate side effects, they can still create adverse impacts in the future. Always check for expiry date and dosage before buying any medicine in pharmacies.