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Oral contraception before and in early pregnancy 'won't affect foetus'

Oral contraception before and in early pregnancy 'won't affect foetus'

If you're worried about taking oral contraceptives shortly before or during your pregnancy, you'll be relieved to hear that the chances of birth defects are extremely unlikely, new research has found.

According to a study conducted by specialists in the US and Denmark, taking the pill doesn't increase the risk of your baby having problems. Little attention has been given to this area, so researchers took a closer look at Danish birth registers for live births between 1 January 1997 and 31 March 2011. They also documented prescription details in national registries to get an idea of women's contraceptive use leading up to and during early pregnancy.

From their research, they found that eight per cent of mothers stopped using the pill less than three months before they became pregnant, while one per cent of the ladies still took it into the early stages of carrying their child. Once birth defects that had a known cause were accounted for, the experts didn't find any link between the mums taking oral contraceptives and a foetus with a defect.

“Many women stop using oral contraceptives when planning a pregnancy and conceive within just a few months. In both of those examples, a woman may inadvertently expose her offspring during pregnancy to exogenous sex hormones,” study author Brittany M. Charlton, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, told Time magazine.

She also noted that her research supported that of limited previous studies, which documented similar findings.

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