Tylenol Use in Pregnancy Could Be Linked to ADHD in Developing Fetus February 25 2014

Making all the right decisions is never easy, especially when you’re embarking on a new adventure called motherhood.

A new study published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, suggests the use of acetaminophen during pregnancy may raise the risk of behavior problems in children later in life.  Acetaminophen is the main ingredient in Tylenol.  The study finds that the more often pregnant mothers used the drug, the higher incidence of their children’s behavioral problems, especially in the first seven years of life. 1


Perhaps a little science will help explain why these findings may be true.  When a woman becomes pregnant, a small organ called the placenta develops in the uterus to provide important nutrients to the developing fetus.  The function of the placenta is essential to the growth of a healthy baby. 2,3  So how might Tylenol play a role?

Acetaminophen can cross into the placenta, making its way to the developing nervous system of the fetus.  It’s possible that this drug may interrupt normal brain and nervous system development by interfering with nutrient uptake and maternal hormone regulation.  As an endocrine disrupter, the drug has already been linked to causing undescended testes in male infants. 1

The study did not prove causation, but did show a correlation between a mother’s acetaminophen use and ADHD symptoms in children.  There are often multiple causes to any known problem, but the fact that acetaminophen is a known endocrine disrupter should make any pregnant woman think twice about using the drug, especially excessively.

At Nature Optimized, we’re serious about our commitment to making healthful decisions throughout the long adventurous journey called life.  Special consideration to improving one’s diet should be made before conception and especially during pregnancy.  Regularly eating whole, nutrient-rich foods and being mindful of adapting a healthy lifestyle is a great way to start!

If you’re interested in more information on healthy choices, review our ADHD Nutrition Tips for Parents and Families.  We’d love to help you learn the importance of feeding your brain and body right.


Written by Melissa Warner.



1.  Walton, Alice G. Could Tylenol in Pregnancy Be Linked to ADHD in Children? Forbes.com - Pharma & Healthcare.  Feb 24, 2014.  
2.   Garnica AD1, Chan WY.  The Role of the Placenta in Fetal Nutrition and Growth. J Am Coll Nutr. 1996 Jun;15(3):206-22.
3.   “Placenta.”  Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.  Feb 13, 2014. Web. Feb, 25, 2014.