New study finds possible link between Tylenol and autism

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Long Term Use of Tylenol

A new study out of Spain suggests that expecting mothers who take Tylenol for pain relief may increase their child's risk for autism.

Around 2,000 women were a part of the study for six years. They were asked about their use of the drug; about 40 percent of women consistently used Tylenol to relieve pain. Researchers found that their children exhibited signs of autism, such as low levels of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

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Dr. David Colombo, Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Spectrum Health, told FOX 17 in Michigan: "People put this out there, and there's a lot of fear in pregnancy."

He continued, "They're always afraid, What am I doing to hurt my baby? There must be something trying to hurt my child."

RELATED: Risk factors for pregnancy complications

Risk factors for complications during pregnancy
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Risk factors for complications during pregnancy

Advanced maternal age

Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers age 35 and older.

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Lifestyle choices

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

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Medical history

 A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth — birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

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Underlying conditions

Chronic conditions — such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy — increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition also can increase pregnancy risks.

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Pregnancy complications

Various complications that develop during pregnancy pose risks, such as problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta. Other concerns might include too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), restricted fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

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Multiple pregnancy

Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.

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He said that the link in this study is an "association," and that Tylenol is safe to take. "Associations aren't causations ... Just because two things are increasing at the same rate doesn't mean they're causative," he explained.

Colombo insisted that pregnant women continue to take Tylenol, and that more research is needed to confirm if such a link really exists.

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