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SMFM Statement: Prenatal acetaminophen and outcomes in children

Acetaminophen is the most widely used medicine during pregnancy. While the rate of use in pregnancy is difficult to determine because it is an over-the-counter medication, large surveys have reported that 40–65% of pregnant women use acetaminophen at some time during their pregnancy. The most common uses are for headache and fever.2Acetaminophen crosses the placenta relatively easily and has been reported in umbilical cord blood after maternal administration in labor. While largely considered to be safe during pregnancy, a few recently published observational studies have reported an association between prenatal acetaminophen use and potential increased risk for adverse neurological outcomes in childhood.

The purpose of this Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Publications Committee statement is to review the nature and findings of these recent studies and put them into context with the available scientific literature to provide guidance to practicing obstetric care providers as they discuss these issues with their patients.