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Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

Pregnancy is infamous for coming with side effects, some painfully so. When I first found out I was pregnant, I quit drinking caffeine cold turkey and consequently had a three day headache that was horrible. With drastic hormonal changes, the average pregnant woman can expect to experience symptoms such as headaches, backaches, and menstrual-like cramping for the first half of the first trimester. Later in pregnancy, she can expect swelling, back pain, sciatica pain, hip pain, and miscellaneous muscle and joint pain. Upon experiencing these symptoms, it is normal to want to reach for any anti-inflammatory pain killers available. But what you take as medication during all stages of pregnancy is drastically important and can have lasting effects on your baby and your body.

So, is Tylenol safe?

This leads women to the often-asked question: can you take Tylenol (the brand name for the over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer known as acetaminophen) while pregnant? Customary advice says that Tylenol is the safest over-the-counter drug women can take during pregnancy for relieving pain symptoms. It is generally preferred over the use of ibuprofen or aspirin, which are cited to have caused birth defects when taken during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. While it is generally accepted as the safest choice for pain relief, there are reasons why a woman would want to use caution in taking Tylenol during pregnancy.

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Studies show there is correlation with ADHD

Recent studies have led scientists to believe that excessive Tylenol use during the first trimester of pregnancy causes higher rates of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) in children. The women most affected reported using Tylenol for 20 weeks or more, especially during the final few months of pregnancy. Critics of this study claim that correlation does not necessarily prove causation, for example, a woman who takes Tylenol for painful pregnancy-related symptoms may have an underlying medical condition that is requiring her use of pain medication in the first place, and that perhaps it is that condition that caused her child to experience ADHD.

Suffering a high fever can be significantly worse for the baby

Women who might be concerned about putting their child at an increased risk for ADHD should consider the dangerous possibility that experiencing high fevers during pregnancy can cause. It is advised that pregnant women who have a fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or more should take a fever-reducer to avoid a multitude or risks to the baby. The only fever-reducer approved for use during pregnancy is Tylenol.

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If a woman is experiencing pain that requires the use of Tylenol, she should be careful to take the exact dosage recommended for her. Pregnant women can take up to 1,000mg of acetaminophen every four hours up to four times per day for a maximum daily intake of no more than 4,000mg.

Always ask your doctor

IMPORTANT NOTE: This advice is by no means a substitute for consulting with your doctor about use of medication during pregnancy. It is also important to note that if you experience pain such as a headache after repeated use of Tylenol, contact your doctor immediately. Extended pain can signal something serious in the health of you or your baby.

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While no medication can be ruled entirely 100% safe to use during pregnancy, you can find a list of generally acceptable medications to take during pregnancy here.

Overall, if you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms that require the use of pain medication, stay away from NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, and choose acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead, being careful to take the exact right dosage. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your symptoms or about the use of Tylenol or other medications during your pregnancy.

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Featured photo credit: Phalinn Ooi via flickr.com

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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