Prednisone and Pregnancy
In previous studies on prednisone and pregnancy, the drug appeared to increase the risk of birth defects when it was given to pregnant animals. Since extensive research has not been conducted, however, the full effects of using prednisone during pregnancy are still not known. You should be sure to talk with your healthcare provider if you have been prescribed prednisone and pregnancy occurs (or you are thinking of becoming pregnant).
An Overview of Prednisone and Pregnancy
Prednisone may not be safe for women who are pregnant. In animal studies that looked at the effects of prednisone during pregnancy, the drug caused miscarriages and problems for the animals later in life.
Prednisone and Pregnancy Categories B and C
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a pregnancy category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category B is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans but do not appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies.
Pregnancy Category C is given to medicines that have not been studied in pregnant humans but do appear to cause harm to the fetus in animal studies. Also, medicines that have not been studied in any pregnant women or animals are automatically given a Pregnancy Category C rating.
As is common with older medications, prednisone was not initially assigned a pregnancy category, and the current prescription information does not list a pregnancy category. Other sources list prednisone as either a pregnancy Category B or C medication.
Observation studies suggest that prednisone may increase the risk of cleft palate or other similar birth defects. Because large, carefully designed studies have not been performed, the full risks of using prednisone during pregnancy are not known.