24 September 2021
Clare Murphy, BPAS Chief Executive, said:
“Current advice for women in the UK is that paracetamol remains safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. There have been studies which suggest an association with some “poorer” neurodevelopmental outcomes in children, but the results are conflicting and the research has some significant limitations. We also have to remember that women take paracetamol for a reason – and that the risks of not treating that condition may well outweigh any hypothetical risks of using paracetamol to treat it.
“There are some broader issues at play here that we need to be very aware of. Pregnant women are already very risk averse and sometimes deny themselves – or are denied by healthcare professionals – medication on the basis that “nothing is safe” in pregnancy. They can become very ill as a result, which puts both themselves – and of course their pregnancy – at risk.
“The COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women we currently see is linked to a climate where women are expected to avoid any risk – real or imagined – to their pregnancy. Pregnant women are in intensive care as a result. This highlights some of the problems with the “precautionary principle” – as advocated by the authors of this paracetamol statement – as the standard approach to behaviours and medication use in pregnancy. It isn’t risk free.”
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BPAS is a charity that sees over 100,000 women a year for reproductive healthcare services including pregnancy counselling, abortion care, miscarriage management and contraception at clinics across Great Britain. It supports and advocates for reproductive choice. BPAS also runs the Centre for Reproductive Research and Communication, which seeks to develop and deliver a research agenda that furthers women’s access to evidence-based reproductive healthcare, driven by an understanding of women’s perspectives and needs. You can find out more here: https://www.bpas.org/get-involved/centre-for-reproductive-research-communication/
Later in 2021, BPAS will launch England’s first not-for-profit fertility service, to provide ethical, evidence-based, person-centred care that supports patients. We will provide a safe, high-quality, and accessible service, without profiteering from patients. Our service will give those ineligible for NHS funding an affordable option to access the care they need.