Opioids in Early Pregnancy Doubles Risk of Birth Defects, Says Study

Babies born to women who take opioid pain killers such as codeine, oxycodone or hydrocodone just before or in early pregnancy are at increased but modest risk of birth defects, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found 2-3 percent of mothers interviewed were treated with prescription opioid pain killers, or analgesics, just before or during early pregnancy. The study did not examine illicit use of these medications. [Read more…]

Smoking While Pregnant Raises Risk of Infant Heart Defects by Up to 70%

Maternal cigarette smoking in the first trimester was associated with a 20 to 70 percent greater likelihood that a baby would be born with certain types of congenital heart defects, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects, contributing to approximately 30 percent of infant deaths from birth defects annually.

The study found an association between tobacco exposure and certain types of defects such as those that obstruct the flow of blood from the right side of the heart into the lungs (right ventricular outflow tract obstructions) and openings between the upper chambers of the heart (atrial septal defects). The study is in the Feb. 28 issue of the journal Pediatrics. [Read more…]