Taking paracetamol during pregnancy ups risk of neurological disorders in babies

Washington: Mommies-to-be please take note! Taking paracetamol during pregnancy may increase the risk of developing a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture in your newborn, warns a recent study.

The findings indicated that the newborns were almost two-and-a-half times more likely to develop the incurable condition, which is caused by a brain injury and leads to life-long problems with speech and movement.

However, no link was discovered with ibuprofen.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen, studied 1,85,617 mothers and their babies living in Denmark and Norway and quizzed the mothers on their use of painkillers during pregnancy.

Around 5,000 of the women took aspirin and a similar number took ibuprofen.

Nearly 90,000 – almost half – admitted taking paracetamol while expecting.

The team found that 357 babies went on to develop brain-related problems.

The babies exposed to paracetamol were 30 percent more likely to have overall cerebral palsy and 50 percent more likely to have it on one side.

Currently, the painkillers are viewed as mostly safe for mothers-to-be, as long as they seek advice from their GP before taking them, the authors noted.

Cerebral palsy occurs if a baby’s brain does not develop normally while in the womb or is damaged during or soon after the birth.

The damage can be caused by bleeding in the baby’s brain or by reduced blood and oxygen supply. Infection caught by the mother during pregnancy can also be a factor.

‘The safety of these drugs now needs to be further evaluated and women should be further cautioned about their use in pregnancy, the researchers explained.

Dr. Sunit Godambe from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said that although the study was large it did not prove a causal link between taking the drugs and cerebral palsy.

The research appears in the International Journal of Epidemiology. (ANI)