Tylenol Use During Pregnancy May be Linked to Autism


Is it safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy? This question has been asked by millions of pregnant women. Typically, they hear from their doctor that Tylenol during pregnancy is completely safe for both the mother and her developing baby. However, a new study has found symptoms aligned with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Tylenol-exposed children.

Tylenol and Pregnancy

The majority of pregnant women will experience back pain, headaches and mild fever during pregnancy. They often turn to Tylenol for relief of these symptoms. What they are usually not told is that NO drug – including Tylenol – is completely safe during pregnancy or otherwise.

As with all drugs, over use of Tylenol will cause serious problems. However, the researchers in this new study found that using Tylenol even just once every 10 days during pregnancy led to children with developmental delays similar to ASD. “Their children seemed to have poorer motor skills than kids whose mothers had taken the drug fewer times or not at all. Tylenol-exposed kids also tended to start walking later, have poorer communication and language skills and more behavior problems.”(1)

The research does not clearly condemn Tylenol use during pregnancy, however, these results are quite concerning. A spokesperson for Johnson & Johnson, Jodie Wertheim, said the drug “has an exceptional safety profile. As the authors note in the study, there are no prospective, randomized controlled studies demonstrating a causal link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and adverse effects on child development.”(1) The truth is that we do not know how dangerous Tylenol is to child development during pregnancy because there are no studies.

Other Dangers of Tylenol and NSAIDS

Examiner.com reported on the dangers of Tylenol and FDA warnings in 2009. “According to the FDA, from 1998 to 2003, acetaminophen was the main cause of acute liver failure in the United States. A 2007 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 1,600 cases of acute liver failure each year in the United States, and acetaminophen is the most common cause. And that’s not all. According to a report in June 2006 issue of Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, between 1990 and 1998, each year there were an estimated 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and 458 deaths related to acetaminophen overdoses.”(2,3)

Unfortunately, the researchers of this new study only recommended switching to another drug, ibuprofen. While ibuprofen may be linked to fewer problems during pregnancy, it is not inherently safe either. It is still a drug that causes hospitalizations and deaths every year. In fact, over 16,500 people die every year from taking NSAIDS (4,5), like aspirin, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin.

Pregnancy-Safe, Natural Alternatives to Tylenol

It is best to avoid all pharmaceutical pain relievers (prescription and over the counter) during pregnancy if at all possible. Some herbs – such as skullcap, capsaicin, and turmeric – may be safe during pregnancy and are far better options than Tylenol. However, these herbs affect everyone differently, especially during pregnancy. If you need additional pain relief, it is best to consult a natural physician for specific recommendations. Here are the top lifestyle options that every woman can safely use during pregnancy.

Chiropractic Care

Regular chiropractic care during pregnancy is your best choice for a healthy pregnancy with as little pain and discomfort as possible. It is completely natural and there are no side effects. Chiropractors worldwide – myself included – have great success caring for women during pregnancy.

Women using chiropractic care during pregnancy tend to have not only more comfortable pregnancies but healthier pregnancies, labor and deliveries as well. (6) In my professional experience, women who utilize chiropractic care, along with good diet and nutrition, before and during pregnancy have no need for pain relieving drugs.

Visit the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association to find a chiropractor near you who specializes in chiropractic care for children and pregnancy.

Proper Hydration

If you have been holding back on drinking water to avoid bathroom trips, then you are likely causing your own headaches! Lack of proper hydration causes many problems including high blood pressure, headaches, muscle aches and back pain. All of these are made worse during pregnancy. Be sure to maintain proper hydration during pregnancy to help avoid these problems.

Each day, drink at least one half ounce of water per pound of body weight to keep yourself well hydrated (e.g. 75 ounces if you weigh 150 pounds). Obviously, this will change during pregnancy. If you are not used to drinking much water, it will take some time to get used to this; however, you will be amazed at how well you feel with proper hydration!

Diet and Nutrition Considerations

Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar, pastas, and fried foods. These foods will increase inflammation and cause pain and headaches. Instead, opt for anti-inflammatory foods and healthy fats. Not only will you experience far less pain and digestive discomfort but you will be providing your baby the nutrition he needs to develop a strong, healthy body.


Exercise during pregnancy helps increase energy levels, strengthens muscles and can reduce inflammation and pain as well. Walking and swimming are generally safe cardiovascular exercises for any pregnant woman. If you exercised regularly before pregnancy, maintaining your exercise routine will help you stay healthy and reduce pain. If you prefer intense exercise, like high intensity interval training, be sure that you keep your heart rate below 140 beats per minute during exercise and exercise no more than 15 minutes at a time.

It is vital to maintain a healthy lifestyle that produces natural healing and wellness. This lifestyle approach to health care is even more important during pregnancy. Adopt this lifestyle and ditch the NSAIDS and Tylenol!

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References for this Article:

(1) Too much Tylenol in pregnancy could affect development http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/22/us-tylenol-pregnancy-idUSBRE9AL15L20131122?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews

(2) Natural alternatives to acetaminophen


(3) Acetaminophen Overdose and Liver Injury http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/AC/09/briefing/2009-4429b1-01-FDA.pdf

(4) Wolfe M. MD, Lichtenstein D. MD, and Singh Gurkirpal, MD, “Gastrointestinal Toxicity of Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs”, The New England Journal of Medicine, June 17, 1999, Vol. 340, No. 24, pp. 1888-1889.

(5) Toxic and Deadly NSAIDS – An Investigative Report http://www.healthsentinel.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2446:toxic-and-deadly-nsaids&catid=39:reports&Itemid=52

(6) Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature


Dr. Brent Hunter
My mission is to help you Achieve Wellness! I am a Chiropractic physician with a focus on delivering the principles of a wellness lifestyle to people of all ages. In my practice, this is accomplished through providing specific chiropractic care and whole-person wellness education.

Additionally, I am a husband and father of a Deaf son. I am passionate about the Word of God, building strong families, Chiropractic Health Care, Optimal Nutrition and Exercise, Deaf Culture and American Sign Language.