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No Connection Found Between Contraceptive Pills and Birth defects, Reveals Study

Update Date: Jan 08, 2016 09:28 AM EST
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Contraceptive pills taken orally before or during the pregnancy do not increase the birth defect risk, revealed a comprehensive study published on Wednesday. More than 900,000 records of live births were analyzed in Denmark and the researchers found that pregnant mothers who consumed the pill even during the pregnancy were not any likelier to have babies with a defect than mothers who never consumed it. "We confirmed that there wasn't any association between oral contraceptives and major birth defects," lead author Brittany Charlton, a scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told AFP by phone. "Our findings were especially reassuring given that we were able to use a different approach." According to Charlton, most researchers that happened previously were based on "case-controlled" studies that began with a rare outcome, a defect after birth, and then worked backwards to establish the root cause. Most of these studies, some more than 10 years old, established a link between hormone-based contraceptives and defects, even when most studies didn't. "We were able to leverage prescription registries and thus eliminate any bias from women inaccurately recalling their use" of the pill, Charlton said, as reported by Yahoo News.

"This should reassure women as well as their doctors," said Charlton, an instructor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. She, however, cautioned that this study doesn't prove that birth controls are in fact absolutely safe and do not cause any birth defects. It only clarifies that there is no link between the two. Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said that the findings of the study were not surprising. "It's something we have known for a while," she said. Still, "many women in the United States are on birth control pills, so it's reassuring to know that they don't cause any birth defects, and women don't have to worry about it during pregnancy," said KFVS12

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