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Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat inflammatory diseases. There is conflicting evidence regarding the association of corticosteroid use in pregnancy and congenital malformations in offspring. We conducted a prevalence study of 83,043 primiparous women who gave birth to a live-born singleton in northern Denmark, in 1999-2009. Through medical registries, we identified prescriptions for corticosteroids, congenital malformations, and covariates. Furthermore, we summarized the literature on this topic. Overall, 1449 women (1.7%) used inhaled or oral corticosteroids from 30 days before conception throughout the first trimester. Oral cleft in the offspring was recorded for 1 of the users (0.08%) and 145 of the nonusers (0.2%), prevalence odds ratio (OR) 0.47 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.07-3.34]. The prevalence OR for congenital malformations overall was 1.02 (95% CI, 0.79-1.32). According to published studies, the use of corticosteroids in early pregnancy was associated with congenital malformations overall with relative estimates ranging from 0.8 (95% CI, 0.4-1.7) to 2.1 (95% CI, 0.5-9.6). For oral clefts, the ORs ranged from 0.6 (95% CI, 0.2-1.7) to 5.2 (95% CI, 1.5-17.1). We found no evidence of an association between use of corticosteroids in early pregnancy and risk of congenital malformations in offspring.

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