Is It Safe to Use Cortisone in Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2019
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Topical applications of cortisone in pregnancy might be safe, but oral doses of the medicine should only be used under supervision of a medical doctor. Animal and human research involving cortisone during pregnancy shows known risks of premature birth and birth defects, especially when used in the first trimester of pregnancy. Cortisone use during pregnancy might be recommended when the benefits of the drug outweigh risks, and no safer alternative is available.

Women who use cortisone on the skin during pregnancy probably face low risks of adverse effects, but research on topical use of the drug by pregnant women is lacking. It might be prescribed for acne that develops from hormonal changes during pregnancy. The medication also treats other skin problems, such as those caused by allergies.

Oral use of cortisone in pregnancy poses greater risks of reduced birth weight, premature labor, and babies born with cleft palates. Human and animal research using high doses of cortisone found these risks increased during the first three months of pregnancy. Women should tell their doctors if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this drug.

Cortisone is a steroid medication that blocks production of chemicals in the body causing inflammation. It represents a common drug used to treat arthritis and other disorders that lead to pain from inflammation, such as lupus. Cortisone might also relieve symptoms of colitis and some breathing disorders.


Recognized government drug agencies classify cortisone in pregnancy by its potential to harm an unborn fetus. They identified known risks of birth defects when the drug is used in early pregnancy. In other stages of pregnancy, benefits of using the medication might overrule any potential risks. The same advice usually applies to breastfeeding mothers. It is not known if the drug permeates breast milk, which might affect a child’s growth.

Patients with liver, kidney, or thyroid problems should tell their doctors before using cortisone. It might also cause adverse reactions in people with diabetes, tuberculosis, osteoporosis, and heart problems. Certain vaccinations while taking the drug might become ineffective, such as immunizations for measles, chickenpox, mumps, smallpox, and influenza. Patients who contract some childhood illness while using cortisone might face serious complications.

Common side effects of the medication include increased sweating, trouble sleeping, headache, and dizziness. More serious reactions might inhibit the immune system’s ability to fight infection. Patients who use the drug over a long period of time might see a redistribution of body fat, which might be especially noticeable in the face, midriff, and extremities.


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Post 4

If you are a pregnant woman you should not use topical cortisone. Cortisone reduces the amount of collagen in your skin and can cause stretch marks or make existing stretchmarks worse.

Post 3

@turquoise-- Steroids are a class C drug which means that adverse reactions were seen in pregnant animals. The decision is yours.

Post 2

@turquoise-- I have also heard contradictory opinions about cortisone injections in pregnancy. My personal conviction is that cortisone injections are not safe at all during the first trimester and they may not be safe at higher doses during the second and third trimester. Topical cortisone is okay in small amounts in pregnancy.

The reason I think that cortisone injections are not okay during the first trimester is because I have heard of people having miscarriage after cortisone use because the embryo could not attach to the uterus. So if you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant and in the first trimester, don't use cortisone.

I have no idea why some doctors say that cortisone is okay in pregnancy. I think some doctors haven't read some of the more recent studies on it. I've even heard a doctor say that cortisone is a natural hormone, so cortisone injections are okay. I think that's a ridiculous explanation.

Post 1

I don't think there is consensus about cortisone use in pregnancy. I've been doing some reading about it on several forums, and I have seen doctors who say its safe and others who say that it is not.

So is cortisone safe in pregnancy or not? Is there proof and evidence for either argument?

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