January 29, 2016

Is Paracetamol Risky During Pregnancy? Autism risk due to fever.

Well, when a woman is pregnant she has to be over-cautious. She should be most careful of what goes into her system during this time. While some things are obviously good for her and her foetus, other things are not! Particularly she should be wary of taking any medicine other than the ones prescribed by her gynaecologist. And this over-cautiousness is not a bad thing when one is pregnant. After all, whatever you take in does affect your unborn child. Any medicine, including home-remedies shouldn't be taken without your doctor's approval. The same cautiousness should be exercised while using skin-care and makeup products also.

Pregnancy is not so smooth-sailing for most women. Besides the usual nausea, vomiting, dizziness in the early months to constipation and headaches, you can also suffer from cold and fever. While most headaches are a part and parcel of pregnancy and most pregnant women have to endure them during these months, extremely severe headaches may point out to something else (possibly an unfortunate missed miscarriage) and hence should not be neglected. For the usual cold, fever and headaches, doctors usually prescribe 'paracetamol' as it is considered to be quite safe during pregnancy. But is it as safe as it is touted?

A study suggests that pregnant women who take common painkillers like paracetamol could unwittingly be putting the fertility of their daughters at risk. Tests conducted by researchers have found that when a mother took paracetamol , her female offspring had fewer eggs than those not exposed to the medicines. Previous research by the same Scottish scientists found paracetamol had lifelong effects on baby boys, raising their risk of everything from infertility to cancer. Researchers say that mothers-to-be should not have nonchalant attitude but must think twice before popping a paracetamol pill. If the tablets have to be taken, they should be used in the lowest possible dose, for the shortest possible time, they add.

Though this research was performed on rats and the fact that foetal development is slower in humans than in rats, the scientists say the findings are significant given the similarity of the two species' reproductive systems. Read more of this at The Daily Mail.

When you are pregnant and have to take a paracetamol for cold, fever or headache, be aware of its effects on your unborn child.

Autism risk due to fever during pregnancy

However having fever itself can be be dangerous during pregnancy. As per a study mentioned in the Sciencedaily, Fever during pregnancy may raise the risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the child. The effect was most pronounced in the second trimester, raising odds for ASD by 40 percent. In the third trimester, a fever was linked to a 15 percent higher risk of autism. Risk of an ASD was increased by over 300 percent for the children of women reporting three or more fevers after the twelfth week of pregnancy. Still, the study doesn't prove that a fever during pregnancy causes autism, and the majority of children whose moms have a fever during pregnancy will not have autism, says Dr Hornig, director of translational research at the Center for Infection and Immunity who conducted the study. "We don't want to be alarmist, but certainly we want to know the best way to manage fever should it occur," she added.

A PubMed study concludes that they could not find an association between maternal influenza infection during pregnancy and either ASD or developmental delay. However, mothers whose children had autism spectrum disorders at ages 2–5 years were more likely to report fever from any cause during pregnancy compared to those of similarly aged children with typical development. This was also true of mothers whose child had developmental delay. Their results additionally suggest that anti-fever medication used to control fever during pregnancy can reduce or eliminate the association we observed between maternal fever and autism.

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