Acetaminophen during pregnancy may cause behavioral, emotional problems in kids

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BRISTOL, ENGLAND-- Mothers-to-be, one of the only things you can take for aches and pains while pregnant — acetaminophen — may now be off-limits.

Research from the University of Bristol shows kids who were exposed to acetaminophen (sold as Tylenol and other brands) while still in the womb are more likely to develop behavioral problems later in life. We're talking hyperactivity, emotional problems and even ADHD.

"It's very difficult because there's not a lot medications that are okay for pregnant women to take. And especially for pain. We don't use Ibuprofin (such as Midol or Advil) in pregnancy because of risk to the unborn child," said Deepali Patni, an ob-gyn with Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston.

Folks behind this Bristol study theorize the acetaminophen could be disrupting hormones needed for the developing fetus. Still, the study's lead author said the drug is safe for pregnant women but should only be used when necessary.

Bottom line. If you're pregnant, should you avoid acetaminophen or not?

"I wouldn't tell patients that they can't take it at this moment. But," says Patni, "I think everything in moderation. I wouldn't take large amounts of any medication in pregnancy without consulting your physician first."