May 20, 2022

Possible link between paracetamol during pregnancy and childhood depression

New research shows a possible link between mothers taking paracetamol during pregnancy and depression in young children.

A study from the University of Auckland found statistical associations between four health and lifestyle factors of women during pregnancy that appeared to predict later depression in children, and paracetamol use was one of them. ‘between them.

The other three are obesity, smoking and stress, which are equally if not more important, according to Professor Karen Waldie of the School of Psychology.

“Women shouldn’t be alarmed, but mounting evidence suggests that it may be wise to use as low a dose of paracetamol as possible for the shortest possible duration during pregnancy,” a- she declared.

Waldie and his colleagues pulled data from the country’s largest longitudinal study, Growing Up in New Zealand, of nearly 4,000 8-year-old children and their mothers.

The mothers were interviewed during pregnancy and eight years later their children were asked about signs of depression such as low mood, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping.

Using statistical methods to analyze the data, the researchers found a “small but significant” statistical association between paracetamol use and signs of depression.

The researchers found statistical associations between four health and lifestyle factors during pregnancy that appeared to predict later depression in children, and paracetamol use was one of them. Photo/NZME

“The prevalence of depression in young people has increased rapidly over the past 10 years,” they write in the report “Prenatal Determinants of Depressive Symptoms in Childhood: Evidence from Growing Up in New Zealand.”

American research shows that depression affects about 1% of preschoolers and 2% of children.

The study fuels growing research into how exposure to certain nutrients and chemicals during pregnancy can affect children’s development, a process known as “fetal programming”.

Epidemiological studies show statistical associations between paracetamol during pregnancy and attention deficit disorder, autism, language delay in girls and lower intelligence quotient in children, but nothing has been proven. .

But there are also limited options for treating pain and fever, which can harm both mother and baby if left unchecked.

Academics from the University of Auckland say this latest research is the first to highlight a potential link between paracetamol and childhood depression, which may put young people at increased risk for alcohol dependence, suicide and reduced school performance.

A previous study from the University of Auckland showed that paracetamol during pregnancy may increase the risk of ADHD-like behaviors in children.