With so many additives and different ingredients added to medications, both over the counter as well as prescription, it makes the average person wonder what is safe anymore. But, what about a pregnant woman? She is carrying a very fragile life, that can be easily affected and ultimately placed in severe danger with some of the things on the market today. So, it leads me to one question. Is there anything safe for expectant mothers to take anymore? Sadly enough, when in doubt, the answer is undoubtedly no. There are in all actuality very few things that can be taken by a momma-to-be.
In a recent report by Health Day News, a new study links pregnant women who use asthmatic medications, such as inhaled glucocorticoids — a class of steroids, to endocrine and metabolic disorders in children whose mothers used these medications during pregnancy.
For the study, researchers looked at data collected from 1996 to 2003 of more than 65,000 mother-child pairs from the Danish National Birth Cohort that were followed from early pregnancy into childhood. Of the women in the study, about 61,000 (94%) had no asthma during pregnancy while almost 4,100 (6%) did have asthma during pregnancy. At the end of follow-up, the median age for the children was about 6, with an age range of about 3.5 to 9.
Asthma is actually common in pregnant women and glucocorticoids are the recommended treatment, the researchers noted. And, for the mothers who used the asthma inhalers, budesonide (Pulmicort) was used by just over 79% of the study particpants and was the most common Glucocorticoid used.
The use of inhaled glucocorticoids during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of most diseases in children, with the exception of endocrine and metabolic disorders.
“Our data are mostly reassuring and support the use of inhaled glucocorticoids during pregnancy,” wrote first author Marion Tegethoff, an associate faculty member in clinical psychology and psychiatry at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues.
Ultimately, the study found a significantly increased risk for endocrine and metabolic disorders during childhood, compared with the offspring of the mothers who did not use inhaled glucocorticoids. The study authors surmised that a proportion of inhaled glucocorticoids might cross the placenta and enter the fetus through the systemic circulation. Synthetic glucocorticoids might also secondarily affect the fetus by altering maternal physiology. However, they noted that these findings require further independent study. And, although the study found an association between inhaler use and certain disorders, it did not show cause and effect.
“This is the first comprehensive study of potential effects of glucocorticoid inhalation during pregnancy on the health of offspring, covering a wide spectrum of pediatric diseases,” study co-author author Gunther Meinlschmidt, an associate faculty member in clinical psychology and epidemiology, said in a journal news release. “While our results support the use of these widely used asthma treatments during pregnancy, their effect on endocrine and metabolic disturbances during childhood merits further study.”
This study appears online ahead of print in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.