Dr. Miaken Zeiger | Monday June 21, 2021
Critical Fetal Development Window.
The first 1000 days from fetal development through the first two years postnatal are considered the “critical window” of neurodevelopment. Toxic insults during the “critical window” period will affect the physical and mental health of a child for life. Previously, we discussed the normal trajectory of brain development; and how important that movement through brain development is for laying a foundation for life. This article is dedicated to understanding how mom’s choices during pregnancy impact the critical window of neurodevelopment.
It is estimated that 50-70% of pregnant women suffer from low back pain. Acetaminophen (Tylenol/Paracetamol) is commonly used during pregnancy to address aches and pains, specifically among 65% of American women and 50% of European women.
How does acetaminophen contribute to toxic insults during the critical window of fetal development?
First, acetaminophen depletes the “master antioxidant,” glutathione, which is needed for good immune health. A poor functioning immune system does not allow for proper detoxification. Increased toxic loading during fetal development is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), mental health issues and more. (1, 2)
Several studies show that exposure to acetaminophen during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of a child later being diagnosed with autism. One study showed that boys with prenatal acetaminophen exposure were more likely to have clinical symptoms of autism than non-exposed boys. (3) Other studies have shown that acetaminophen given between 12-18 months have been associated with increased likelihood of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). (4,5)
When umbilical cord samples were taken at birth of fetuses exposed to acetaminophen during pregnancy, it was found that a significant increased risk of childhood ADHD and ASD in those that showed acetaminophen in the umbilical cord. (6)
Children on the Autism Spectrum are known to have poor motor development and communication disorders. According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, children exposed to prenatal paracetamol for more than 28 days had poorer gross motor development, communication disorders and higher activity levels. Children exposed prenatally to short-term use of paracetamol (1-27 days) also had poorer gross motor outcomes. (7)
In addition to autism, several studies have shown a connection between acetaminophen use and ADHD. In the Journal of Epidemiology, long term use of paracetamol during pregnancy had substantial adverse developmental outcomes at 3-years of age. (3) Additionally, maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy was found to be associated with a higher risk of inattention, over-activity and impulsivity and ADHD-like behaviors in children.(8) Children whose mothers used acetaminophen in the first 32-weeks of pregnancy were 30% more likely at age five to have attention impairments often found in children with autism or ADHD.(6)
Acetaminophen… safe for you? Safe for your unborn child?
Acetaminophen is the most common drug ingredient in America. A quick “common medicine” Google Search indicates that over 600 medicines contain acetaminophen as an active ingredient, including over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. In our culture, it’s common to use OTC daily basis, but it’s NOT NORMAL. And, to the unborn child – the consequences are significant.
Chiropractic, Pregnancy & Back Pain
Chiropractic care is safe and effective for musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy. In fact, many pregnant moms utilize chiropractic for healthy pregnancy, labor, and more. Not to mention the many health benefits to baby … without the terrible side-effects of medications, aka: toxic insults. For a better understanding as to why families are choosing chiropractic care, check out the following articles I’ve written as well as the pregnancy resources I’ve been collecting to share with you:
Lastly, I urge you to share what you know about the benefits of chiropractic with your friends and family. All evidence demonstrates regular and consistent chiropractic care eliminates the need for reaching for these OTC or prescription medications to resolve pain. Too many people don’t understand how their daily healthcare choices lay the foundation for health or disease. We deserve better. Our children deserve better. Each child has within them, the ability to express a limitless potential… our innate intelligence is inherent, God-given, divine.
Will you share what you know?
1. Dimova S1, Hoet PH, Dinsdale D, Nemery B. Acetaminophen decreases intracellular glutathione levels and modulates cytokine production in human alveolar macrophages and type II pneumocytes in vitro. Inter. Journal of Biochemistry Cell Biology. 2005 Aug;37(8):1727-37
2. Mitchell DB, Acosta D, Bruckner JV. Role of glutathione depletion in the cytotoxicity of acetaminophen in a primary culture system of rat hepatocytes. Toxicology. 1985 Oct;37(1-2):127-46.
3. Brandlistuen RE, Ystrom E, Nulman I, Koren G, Nordeng H. Prenatal paracetamol exposure and child neurodevelopment: a sibling-controlled cohort study. International Journal Epidemiology. 2013 Dec;42(6):1702-13.
4. Stephen T Schultz* and Georgianna G Gould. Acetaminophen Use for Fever in Children Associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Open Access. 2016 April; 6(2)
5. Richelle Vlenterie, Mollie E Wood, Ragnhild Eek Brandlistuen, Nel Roeleveld, Marleen MHJ van Gelder and Hedvig Nordeng. Neurodevelopmental problems at 18 months among
6. children exposed to paracetamol in utero: a propensity score matched cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016, 1998–2008.
7. Yuelong Ji, PhD; Romuladus E. Azuine, DrPH, MPH, RN; Yan Zhang, PhD;Wenpin Hou, PhD; Xiumei Hong, MD, PhD; GuoyingWang, MD, PhD; Anne Riley, PhD; Colleen Pearson, BA; Barry Zuckerman, MD; XiaobinWang,MD, MPH, ScD. Association of Cord Plasma Biomarkers of In Utero Acetaminophen Exposure With Risk of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Childhood. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry. 2019. 3259
8. Liew Z, Ritz B, Rebordosa C, Lee PC, Olsen J. Acetaminophen use during pregnancy, behavioral problems, and hyperkinetic disorders. JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Apr;168(4):313-20.