Risk of intrauterine growth retardation, malformations and other birth outcomes in children after topical use of corticosteroid in pregnancy


Address all correspondence to:
Ane Marie Thulstrup
Department of Clinical Epidemiology
Vennelyst Boulevard 6
uilding 260
DK-8000 Aarhus C


Background. Topical corticosteroids are frequently used drugs, but little is known of the exposure during pregnancy and birth outcome.

Methods. In a population-based follow-up study restricted to primigravida women, we examined the risk of low birth weight, malformations and other birth outcomes following pregnancy upon exposure to topical corticosteroids. We compared the offspring of 363 women exposed to topical corticosteroids during pregnancy with 9263 controls, who received no prescriptions at all.

Results. The prevalence of malformations was 2.9% among 170 infants exposed during the first trimester and 3.6% among the controls. Adjusted odds ratios for low birth weight, malformations and preterm delivery among women receiving weak/medium strong corticosteroids were 0.7 (95% CI 0.17–2.85), 0.93 (95% CI 0.23–3.80) and 1.04 (95% CI 0.56–1.92), respectively, and adjusted odds ratios for strong/very strong corticosteroids were 1.23 (95% CI 0.45–3.37), 0.56 (95% CI 0.14–2.28) and 0.99 (95% CI 0.54–1.84), respectively.

Conclusions. The study showed no increased risk of low birth weight, malformations or preterm delivery in the offspring of women exposed to topical corticosteroid during pregnancy.