Acetaminophen boosts ADHD risk

When you're pregnant, you're not just eating for two. Everything you do is for two -- and that includes taking meds.

But believe it or not, many of today's most commonly used drugs have never been fully tested for safety in pregnant women and their children, and that's as true for over-the-counter meds as it is for prescription drugs.

And now, new research finds that one of the most commonly used over-the-counter meds of all could damage the brain of your baby.

It's the painkiller acetaminophen, aka Tylenol (but it's also found in everything from cold meds to sleep aids) and the new study finds it can cross the placental barrier and harm the development of baby's brain in a way that could lead to ADHD later on.

And by age 11, kids born to moms who took the drug while pregnant are 30 percent more likely to have ADHD and 37 percent more likely to have the most severe form of the condition than kids born to moms who didn't.

The more mom-to-be takes the drug, the higher the risk -- and women who take it for 20 weeks or more during pregnancy have kids 50 percent more likely to suffer from ADHD later, according to the study of nearly 65,000 women.

What's truly frightening here is that this drug is one of the most commonly used meds among pregnant women -- and it's long been assumed by the mainstream that it's safe.

Clearly, acetaminophen is anything but.

While I believe it's important for everyone to try nondrug options for pain first, it's especially critical for pregnant women.

If you're expecting, start with treatments such as acupuncture as well as homeopathic remedies. Massage and heat treatments will also do the trick in many cases, but speak to your doctor before you try anything else, including herbal remedies, to make sure what you choose is safe for your baby.

I realize that some of you reading this are planning for grandchildren or even great grandchildren rather than kids of your own, so please share this information with any woman in your life who's of childbearing age.