Culture Post: Prenatal Acetaminophen Use Linked to Sleep, Attention Problems in Preschoolers

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

Acetaminophen use during pregnancy is associated with sleep and behavior problems consistent with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a study by Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Acetaminophen is a common drug used to treat a variety of issues, including fever, infection, muscle pain, headache, migraine, colds, and allergies. Traditionally, the medication has been considered by medical professionals to be safe for use during pregnancy. However, according to Kristin Sznajder, assistant professor of public health sciences and lead author, emerging studies support the idea that this drug may affect child development and may be associated with attention problems.

Sznajder said their new study confirms these trends and was also the first to observe an association between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and child sleep challenges.

The researchers used data from a study of more than 2,400 women who had never given birth before and followed them and their children from the third trimester of pregnancy to 3 years postpartum. Women were surveyed once during their pregnancies about their medication use and frequency and stress levels. Of these, 41.7% of women reported using acetaminophen during pregnancy.

The researchers found that children of women who used acetaminophen were significantly more likely to have sleep problems and attention problems compared with children of those who did not use acetaminophen during pregnancy.

The results confirm the findings of previous studies that suggest that prenatal acetaminophen use could lead to attention issues, while also showing that sleep may also be affected. Among women who used acetaminophen during pregnancy, 22.7% described their child as having sleep problems and 32.9% described their children as having attention problems.

The results were published in PLOS One.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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