For decades, women have reached for pain pills to treat mild aches, pains and fever during pregnancy.
A new study, however, may have pregnant women thinking twice before reaching for a pain pill.
The study, published in the well-respected JAMA Pediatrics, has discovered a potential link between acetaminophen—the main ingredient in Tylenol and other pain pills—and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Although experts say the preliminary findings fall short of proving a direct correlation between cause and effect, the fact that acetaminophen is the most widely prescribed drug for pregnant women is a red flag.
“We really should start looking at non-pharmacological ways to deal with pain,” Jeff Chapa, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today, while advising that acetaminophen continue to be used in the case of fevers.
According to the study, which tracked more than 64,000 Danish children born from 1996 to 2002, those whose mothers took acetaminophen were:
• 37 percent more likely to be diagnosed with hyperkinetic disorder—the equivalent of “high end” ADHD.
• 20 percent more likely to receive ADHD medications.
To that point, a better (drug-free) alternative to alleviate joint aches and pains during pregnancy may be as simple as a visit to your local chiropractor. The American Pregnancy Association notes that chiropractic care can “help maintain a healthier pregnancy” overall while also potentially improving symptoms of back, neck or joint pain as a result of progressive postural changes associated with pregnancy.
“Doctors of Chiropractic complete a typical undergraduate education along with a four-year post-graduate curriculum in chiropractic to earn their D.C. degree, and are trained to work with expectant mothers throughout pregnancy,” says Gerard Clum, DC, an avid supporter of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. “Establishing pelvic balance and spinal alignment are focal points of chiropractic care, helping reduce neurological strain, as well as the pain symptoms of postural changes and increased lower back curvature during pregnancy.”