Moms-to-be who take prescription opioid painkillers such as codeine, hydrocodone or oxycodone (Oxycontin) may increase the risk of birth defects in their newborns, according to a US government report.
"Women who are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, should know there are risks associated with using prescription painkillers," said CDC Director Dr Thomas R. Frieden. "They should only take medications that are essential, in consultation with their health care provider. "
Double the risk
In the study of data from 10 states, the CDC researchers found that 2 to 3% of mothers interviewed received prescription opioid pain killers, or analgesics, just before they got pregnant or early in their pregnancy. Any illicit use of painkillers was not assessed.