Medication and pregnancy has always been a risky combination with ambiguous effects on both mother and foetus. Since the discovery of the teratogenic properties of thalidomide, drug trials have become much more stringent in order to validate the efficacy of a medication while limiting its harmful effects. Recently, a cohort study was carried out in Denmark over a 12-year period to determine the risk of orofacial clefts and the use of corticosteroids in pregnancy. There were 832,636 live births documented during this time, of which 1,232 births were diagnosed with orofacial clefts. Of these, 84 were linked to corticosteroid use during the first trimester. The results found no increase in risk of orofacial clefts with the use of most types of corticosteroids. Yet it was highlighted that the use of dermatologic corticosteroids may have a causal association with orofacial clefts; further studies are needed in order to clarify this relationship.

Full article:
PMID: 21482652

Title: Corticosteroid use during pregnancy and risk of orofacial clefts
Authors: Hviid A, Mølgaard-Nielsen D
Journal Title: Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)