A new study says that women who take pain medications early in their pregnancy may be exposing their babies to a higher risk of birth defects.
Take note. If you are early-on in your pregnancy, do not take codeine, oxycodone and other opioid pain drugs. A new study suggests that these medications could increase the risk of birth defects in your babies.
“Opioids and their receptors act as growth regulators during embryologic development, which may explain our findings,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study’s lead author Cheryl S. Broussard tells The New York Times.
Though the overall numbers were low, babies whose mothers took pain medications were considerably more likely than others to have congenital problems — including a potentially fatal syndrome that affects the development of the left part of the heart — spina bifida and gastroschisis, which causes the intestines to stick out of the body.
The study, which appeared in The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, used data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study about mothers in 10 states who gave birth from 1997 to 2005.
Out of 17,449 whose babies were born with a birth defect, 454, or 2.6 percent, say they took opioid drugs a month before or during the first trimester of their pregnancy. In a comparison group of 6,701 women, the rate of opioid use was 2 percent.
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