Paracetamol intake during pregnancy is likely to have some adverse effect on children, a study stated. According to the research, children born to mothers who took this medication in their mid-pregnancy are likely to develop behavioral problems.

The study that was published in the medical journal Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology on Monday looked into the association between paracetamol intake between 18 and 32 weeks gestation and neurocognitive outcomes in the child.

Through the longitudinal cohort study, the research team found a link between paracetamol intake during pregnancy and hyperactivity, attention problems as well as other behavioral difficulties in young children.

For the study, the researchers examined a total of 14,062 children between the age group of six months and 11 years. The academics tested the memory and IQ of each of the participants until they turned 17 years old.

During the study, the researchers examined results of children’s IQ, memory, temperament, pre-school developmental tests and behavior measures. The research team also found that 43 percent of the participants’ mothers had paracetamol sometimes or more often during the second and third trimester of their pregnancy.

“Our findings add to a series of results concerning evidence of the possible adverse effects of taking paracetamol during pregnancy such as issues with asthma or behavior in the offspring.  It reinforces the advice that women should be cautious when taking medication during pregnancy and to seek medical advice where necessary,” lead researcher Jean Golding said in a statement.

Paracetamol is the most commonly used medication for pain relief during pregnancy and it is also a recommended choice of treatment by the NHS, the research team noted.

The research team concluded the study by stating “we have shown that paracetamol taken in the period 18‐32 weeks is associated with aspects of child attention and hyperactivity until 7 years of age, but there is little sign of adverse associations at later ages, with the exception of their sons who are more likely to demonstrate conduct problems up until 9 years of age. Given the increase in these behaviors it will be important to assess whether they are accompanied by difficulties in scholastic achievements, or whether any adverse effects survive puberty."

“It is important that our findings are tested in other studies – we were not in a position to show a causal link, rather an association between two outcomes.  It would also be useful now to assess whether older children and adults are free of difficult behavioral problems if their mother had taken paracetamol,” Golding added.

Pregnant woman A pregnant woman, in the last trimester of her pregnancy, poses in this illustration photo in Sete, South France, March 26, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Regis Duvignau