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EXPOSURE TO ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES IN PREGNANCY

Date of issue: November 2018, Version: 2

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A corresponding patient information leaflet on EXPOSURE TO ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES IN PREGNANCY is available.

Oral contraceptives (OC) can be either combined oral contraceptives (COC) containing oestrogen and progestogen sex hormones, or progestogen-only pills (POP). 

Only meta-analyses and studies which include a control or comparison group were considered in this monograph. These data do not suggest an association between maternal use of OC in pregnancy and congenital malformations in general, cardiac malformations, neural tube defects, or neonatal or infant death.

Conflicting findings have been produced by studies investigating the risk of limb reduction defects, genital defects and preterm delivery. However, adequate data which are not confounded or limited by methodology of data collection or analysis are lacking. Therefore, defining or excluding exposure to OC or sex hormones in pregnancy as a contributory factor in the aetiology of these malformations or adverse pregnancy outcomes is not currently possible.

Exposure to oral contraceptives at any stage in pregnancy would not be regarded as medical grounds for termination. Other risk factors may be present in individual cases which may independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case-specific risk assessments.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to NHS health care professionals who are logged in.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from UKTIS.org to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.