Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics and risk for birth defects

Cheryl S. Broussard, Sonja A. Rasmussen, Jennita Reefhuis, Jan M. Friedman, Michael W. Jann, Tiffany Riehle-Colarusso, Margaret A. Honein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

261 Scopus citations


Objective: We examined whether maternal opioid treatment between 1 month before pregnancy and the first trimester was associated with birth defects. Study Design: The National Birth Defects Prevention Study (1997 through 2005) is an ongoing population-based case-control study. We estimated adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIS) for birth defects categories with at least 200 case infants or at least 4 exposed case infants. Results: Therapeutic opioid use was reported by 2.6% of 17,449 case mothers and 2.0% of 6701 control mothers. Treatment was statistically significantly associated with conoventricular septal defects (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.16.3), atrioventricular septal defects (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.23.6), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.44.1), spina bifida (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.33.2), or gastroschisis (OR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.12.9) in infants. Conclusion: Consistent with some previous investigations, our study shows an association between early pregnancy maternal opioid analgesic treatment and certain birth defects. This information should be considered by women and their physicians who are making treatment decisions during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314.e1-314.e11
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • analgesic
  • birth defect
  • medication
  • opioid
  • pregnancy


Dive into the research topics of 'Maternal treatment with opioid analgesics and risk for birth defects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this