There has been a recent study which has reported that taking paracetamol (PCM) in pregnancy can possibly increase the risk of your baby having asthma. This was a large study conducted in Norway and published in 2016 (1).
The study showed that paracetamol intake by the mother during pregnancy, increases the risk of the baby going on to develop childhood asthma by 13 %. Also, giving a baby paracetamol in the first 6 months of life increases the risk of asthma by 29 %, as per this study.
However we need to understand that the study does not tell us at what dose this effect is seen. Also, Paracetamol remains the only safe medication to manage fever in pregnancy. And we do know that fever if left untreated can be more harmful for the fetus.
But, the lesson to be learnt from this study is that paracetamol (for that matter any drug) should be consumed in pregnancy only when needed, at the lowest dose possible and for the least amount of time.
So take your PCM with caution and ofcourse after discussing with your doctor!
1. Prenatal and infant paracetamol exposure and development of asthma: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study Int J Epidemiology first published online February 9, 2016 doi:10.1093/ije/dyv366
Ok so you and your partner have decided that you are ready for a baby!!
It may have been one of you pushing the other, one may be more ready than the other, but a healthy pregnancy results when you, the mom to be are sure you want to go ahead!
It will not be easy. The changes that come with pregnancy are a piece of cake compared to taking care of a baby! BUT… If you are ready and happy to welcome the little one, it will all be worth it!!
So let’s talk about what all do you need to know, plan and do before you get that lil bump!
- Fertile period – This is the time during the month you are most likely to conceive. If you have regular 28-30 day cycles, then your ovulation most likely occurs on the 14-16th day. So if you count the first day of your bleeding as day 1 you are most likely to conceive if you have intercourse with your partner between day 10- day 20. A good idea is to do that every other day as that ensures a better sperm count and hence higher chances of conceiving. In case you have irregular periods you should speak to your gynecologist to help you determine your fertile period.
- Pre-pregnancy checks – If you are planning a pregnancy it would be a good idea to see your gynecologist and get a few tests done. This is to ensure that you are at the peak of your health and if any supplements or vaccinations are required, then there is time to plan those before you become pregnant. If u have a specific medical condition then its best to see your doctor at least 3 months before planning the pregnancy. This will help to optimise your health and change the medications to those that are safe to take in pregnancy. You could email me at drnehagami(at)gmail.com.
- One of the tests that should be done are to check for Immunity to rubella. In case you have never been vaccinated or exposed to rubella then you would be found to be non immune on the test. In this case you could choose to take the vaccine and postpone the pregnancy for at least one month. Other tests may be directed to screen for thyroid problems or diabetes or infections like HIV or hepatitis B/C. This is done so as to plan treatment and ensure that there is least effect of these conditions on the baby and you.
- Diet and lifestyle – food, exercise, alcohol, smoking
Increasing your fresh fruits and vegetable portions helps to ensure a healthier pregnancy. A low pre-pregnancy intake has been linked to low weight of the baby. Continue a regular exercise routine. you can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy. Of course, once you are pregnant, you may need to discuss this with your trainer.
- Alcohol, when consumed in large amounts during pregnancy, has been shown to affect the baby in many ways. It can cause the baby to be small and have low intelligence and behavioural problems. There can even be formation defects. So it’s a good idea to stop drinking if you’re planning a pregnancy or at least restrict it to 14 units of alcohol per week. And avoid binge drinking i.e. spread this maximum limit over at least three days. A half pint of beer, or two thirds of a small glass of wine, or one small measure of spirits is considered one unit of alcohol.
- Smoking- I would strongly advice you to stop smoking if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy. In fact it is advised that neither you nor the father to be should be smoking during the pregnancy. This is because smoking can affect the baby and your pregnancy. It can cause miscarriage, formation defects in the baby, small baby, delivery before time, bleeding in late pregnancy and even death of the baby inside your womb.
- Pre-existing medical problems may cause some concern to you during your pregnancy. But most conditions can be managed easily with just some extra caution and vigilance. So talk to your doctor or send me a mail and ill try and guide you.
- Pregnancy problems in the past can have a bearing on the next pregnancy. Collect all your old records and try and remember if you were given any special instructions last time. It’s always a good idea to inform your current team as soon as possible about whatever you remember from the last time, however insignificant it may seem to you. A good doctor will pick up the clues!
- Cesarean delivery in the past usually does not affect your pregnancy but may increase the chances of your having a repeat cesarean delivery. Again, your obstetrician should be able to guide you to the best mode of delivery for you, after looking at all your individual factors!
So good luck! Hope you have fun planning and going through your pregnancy!!