Monday, March 09, 2009

Birth-control pills, low birth weight linked

From the National Post:
Women who get pregnant within a few weeks of taking birth-control pills seem much more likely than others to have low birth-weight or premature babies, concludes a new Canadian study that deals with one of the most widely prescribed classes of drugs.

The findings suggest couples should consider using condoms and other "barrier" contraception methods in the month before they try to conceive, say the researchers from the University of Ottawa.

The study does not definitively prove a cause-and-effect relationship and needs to be confirmed by more research, said the lead investigator. It is also unclear why oral contraceptives might affect the development of the fetus, added Xi-Kuan Chen, an epidemiologist.

The findings should not be ignored, though, he said.

"Doctors should be bringing this to the attention of patients," said Mr. Chen, who is also a senior analyst with the Canadian Institute for Health Information. "When they consult with some patients, they should suggest there might be some effect for them." ...more

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