Researchers have found a link between acetaminophen use during pregnancy and delay in language development in children.

Acetaminophen, commonly known by the brand name Tylenol, is an active ingredient in several medications for pain relief and fever. It is also used in combination with other active ingredients in drugs for the treatment of allergies, coughs, colds, flu and sleeplessness.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists considers acetaminophen one of the only safe pain relievers that can be used during pregnancy. In the U.S., it is currently categorized as a "Pregnancy Category B" substance, which is considered safe for use during pregnancy.

In the latest study, a team from Northeastern University found an association between increased acetaminophen use in the last two trimesters, particularly in the third trimester of pregnancy, and lower language scores in children. They did not find any association between its use in the first trimester and language development in children.

"We saw that with individuals who took more acetaminophen during pregnancy, their children tended to have more delayed language development in early childhood, particularly in male children, and especially true with acetaminophen use in the third trimester," said Megan Woodbury, a study author. The findings were published in the journal Pediatric Research.

However, the researcher cautions that the study does not prove a causative relationship between the two, and more research is required to understand if other factors are involved.

"We're not entirely sure it's acetaminophen driving this effect. Is it truly due to acetaminophen use, or is it something to do with experiencing fever during pregnancy illness during pregnancy, or other variables?" Woodbury said.

Previous studies have shown that acetaminophen use during pregnancy increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

Since there are a lot of contradicting studies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that pain relievers should be used during pregnancy only after careful consideration. FDA recommends pregnant women discuss their medications with their healthcare professionals before using them.