Taking painkillers in early pregnancy is dangerous for the fetus, as it can cause a neural tube defect. This is the conclusion drawn by the U.S. researchers from Boston University.
According to the author of the study, Dr. Mahsan Yazdi, the use of opioid analgesics, such as oxycodone, vicodin and percocet in early pregnancy increases the risk of having children with neural tube defects (this cylindrical structure further gives rise to the central nervous system) by two times. One of the most common neural tube defects is spina bifida.
Dr. Yazdi reminds that about 2-3 % of children are born with any birth defects, so it is important to identify any potential risks. The researchers have analyzed the data from telephone surveys of young mothers, collected within 6 months after childbirth. The polls continued for 12 years.
The survey included the information about 305 mothers of the children born with neural tube defects, as well as more than 20,000 mothers whose children were born either completely healthy or with birth defects that do not have any relation to opioids. According to Dr. Yazdi, women of the childbearing age should ask the doctors if the benefits of taking these painkillers outweigh the risk for the baby during pregnancy, or they should quit taking opioids for some time.
The study was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.