Posted by Deborah Pujoue on February 2, 2012
Once again, pregnant women are being reminded of just how much every day products can harm their unborn babies. A new study is getting a lot of attention after it found that common painkillers like Tylenol, Aleve and even my trusted Motrin can cause birth defects in babies whose mother take the drugs while pregnant.
American researchers are issuing warnings that these over-the-counter painkillers increase the chances of babies suffering from such birth defects as oral clefts, neural tube defects and spina bifida. The entire study was conducted on a class of common painkillers called NSAIDS. During the study it was discovered that the pills “tripled the risk of birth defects, but the types of defects are so rare that even with increased risks, the chances of having a child with the defects were minute.”
Published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, this study used information that was collected from the National Birth Defects Prevention study to gather its information. Specifically, the study showed that “pregnant women who took Aleve (naproxen) or aspirin during pregnancy were three times as likely to give birth to children with no eyes, or with abnormally small eyeballs that often resulted in blindness. The conditions are known as anophthalmia and microphthalmia, respectively, and occur in one out of every 5,300 U.S. births.”
The study also showed that pregnant women that took these painkillers were three times as likely to give birth to babies with a clubfoot or conditions known as amniotic band syndrome, which happens in one out of every 10,000 U.S. births. One thing that should be noted is that the researchers did not make any causal connection that proved that the higher risks were directly caused by the painkillers alone. If that is supposed to make me happy, it doesn’t. I had to take many doses of Advil and Tylenol while pregnant with my two year old, and wish this study was released at that time. While she was born completely healthy, the “what if” factor now weighs heavily on my relief button.