Maternal Exposure to Corticosteroids During Pregnancy Linked to Psychological and Neurosensory Disorders in Children

September 12, 2022

Findings Suggest a Risk/Benefit Analysis Should Be Considered Before Using the Drug on Pregnant Women

Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications that can help an infant’s lungs mature before birth. The drug is typically given to pregnant mothers at risk of giving premature birth. Recent speculation is that the drug may have ill effects on offspring. Now, new research has investigated whether maternal corticosteroid treatments during pregnancy are associated with children’s psychological developmental and neurosensory disorders. This large population-based cohort study showed that exposure to corticosteroids in the womb was associated with long-term neurodevelopmental and neurosensory impairments among the treatment-exposed children compared to the nonexposed children. The research followed participants from birth until 12 years of age. Excess risk of these impairments appeared to be nonspecific to the domain of neurodevelopment and neurosensory function and was seen in the children who, after treatment exposure, were born at term. Among the term-born treatment-exposed children, the hazard ratio was notably higher for specific speech and language disorders, scholastic skills, and motor function, as well as pervasive and other unspecified disorders of psychological development. The term-born treatment exposed children also had a noticeably higher hazard ratio for epilepsy and cerebral palsy. The study concluded that there are possible long-term psychological developmental and neurosensory impairments associated with the offspring of women who received corticosteroid treatments during pregnancy. The paper advises that doctors consider all risks and benefits before using the drug on pregnant women. 

Original Study

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons