Maternal corticosteroids linked to orofacial clefts

February 1, 2008

Maternal use of corticosteroids during early pregnancy moderately increases the risk of orofacial clefts in infants.

Maternal use of corticosteroids during early pregnancy moderately increases the risk of orofacial clefts in infants, according to a report published in the December issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Suzan L. Carmichael, PhD, of the March of Dimes Foundation/California Department of Health Services, California Birth Defects Monitoring Program in Berkeley, and colleagues interviewed mothers of 1,141 cases with cleft lip and palate, 628 cases with cleft palate, and 4,143 controls.

The researchers found that corticosteroids use from 4 weeks before conception through 12 weeks after conception was reported by mothers of 33 infants with cleft lip palate (2.9%), mothers of six infants with cleft palate (1%), and 72 control subjects (1.7%). They calculated a crude odds ratio for orofacial clefts of 1.7 for "any" versus "no" use of corticosteroids.

Carmichael SL, Shaw GM, Ma C, et al. Maternal corticosteroid use and orofacial clefts. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007;197:585.e1-585.e7.