Pregnant women are being urged only to take paracetamol when it is necessary after research has revealed it is linked to behaviour problems in children.

The popular painkiller is regarded as safe for a pregnant woman, but a study tracking more than 7,000 mothers and their babies in Britain reported an association between the use of the drug and pregnancy and behavioural difficulties in children when they were aged seven.

This is the second set of research that links the two.

A study undertaken in Denmark, on 64,000 women and their babies reported a correlation between pregnancy and ADHD behaviour in children aged 7.

However, Australian pharmacists have urged women not to panic about the drug, saying the research only pointed to an association for further research. There is no proof the drug causes harm to foetuses.

Dr Luke Grzeskowiak of the University of Adelaide said ‘’In this study, 95 per cent of mums who took paracetamol during pregnancy had a child with no problems at seven years of age … I think that message gets lost in a lot of this.”.

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