Taking Paracetamol During Pregnancy Can Put Your Child At Risk
Widely used to relive pain, Paracetamol can reduce masculinity of male babies and fertility in female babies.
Paracetamol can reduce testosterone production in newborn boys.
- The pain reliever can reduce masculinity in male babies
- Reduced testosterone production inhibits brain behavior
- Girls can also become infertile
Rats, the despised rodents, have always come to the aid of scientists whenever they wanted to conduct health tests, too dangerous to perform on humans. Whether it was a test to uncover if mice and so humans, preferred pop over jazz or the effects of cocaine intake for 6 continuous days, these rats have borne it all. And now another interesting and somewhat cautionary scientific experiment has been conducted on these rodents to study the effect of Paracetamol, a pain-reliever, on the masculinity of newborn boys. The results, this time, are too strong to ignore.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen administered a dosage of paracetamol, that is the recommended intake for pregnant mothers on mice and found surprising results. The pills inhibited male behavior in the newborn son by reducing the amount of masculine hormone 'testosterone' in their bodies. This hormone is crucial for male brain programming.
In particular, the researchers studied the aggressiveness of these mice to other male mice, their ability to copulate and the need for territorial marking. They found that the mice reacted significantly more passively than normal for all three parameters - they did not attack other males, were unable to copulate and behaved more like female mice when it come to urinary territorial marking.
"We have demonstrated that a reduced level of testosterone means that male characteristics do not develop as they should," says Prof. David Mabjerg Kristensen from the University.
This happens, according to Professor Anders Hay-Schmidt, because the reduced production of testosterone inhibits brain activity that is responsible for male behavioral patterns. "The area of the brain that controls sex drive - the sexual dimorphic nucleus - had half as many neurons in the mice that had received paracetamol as the control mice," he says.
What about newborn girls?
Unborn girls are in harm's way too. A similar study by the University last year showed that female mice had fewer eggs in their ovaries if their mothers had taken paracetamol during pregnancy. This led to the mice becoming infertile more quickly.
What to do?
Researchers don't suggest a complete ban on the use of paracetamol. They acknowledge that a sick mother is more harmful for the fetus than the effects of paracetamol. But it's important that moms-to-be consult their physician and gynecologist before popping any pills.
(Inputs from ANI)