Prednisone during Pregnancy: Benefits, Side Effects & Precautions

Prednisone During Pregnancy – Benefits and Side Effects

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory illnesses affecting people all over the world. And at least one to two per cent of all pregnant women experience maternal asthma, making it a common complication during pregnancy. Another complication that many women face while pregnant is inflammatory bowel disease, which causes serious problems in the large intestine. Both these conditions are often treated by steroid medications such as prednisone. You might want to take this medicine if you experience these complications while pregnant, but before you do that, find out if is safe during pregnancy. Read this article to learn about this medication, its benefits and side effects, and more!

What Is Prednisone?

Prednisone is a corticosteroid which can be either given orally or through a nebuliser. This drug lowers the concentration of inflammation-causing molecules in the body. This medication is used to treat conditions affecting various parts of the body, allergies, including hormonal imbalances, connective tissue problems, ulcerative colitis, heart conditions, asthma, arthritis, and so on. Prednisone is most commonly recommended 1-4 times a day or every alternate day along with food.

Benefits of Prednisone in Pregnancy

Taking prednisone during pregnancy can help with certain conditions. Some of the conditions this medication may help with are given below:

1. Treatment of Dermatological Conditions

Prednisone is very effective when it comes to treating skin ailments, such as eczema, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, allergic rashes, psoriasis and so on. It is also known to regulate and maintain a stable balance of electrolytes in the bloodstream.

2. Treatment of Autoimmune Diseases

As prednisone controls the output of the immune system, it can control responses preventing the immune cells from attacking and killing the other healthy cells in the body. Autoimmune diseases like lupus are often treated with prednisone.

3. Treatment of Bone Problems

Various musculoskeletal ailments like chronic arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout are treated by prednisone.

4. Treatment of Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine or hormone-related conditions like nonsuppurative thyroiditis, hypercalcemia and adrenal hyperplasia can be treated by prednisone.

5. Treatment of Respiratory Ailments

Prednisone offers respite from the symptoms of many respiratory problems, including pneumonia, sarcoidosis, asthma, tuberculosis, and Loeffler’s syndrome.

Treatment of Respiratory Ailments

Side Effects of Taking Prednisone in Pregnancy

There are a few potential side effects that can arise from taking prednisone during your pregnancy. They include:

1. Digestive Conditions

Digestive ailments like stomach aches, gas, bloating, passing blood in the stools, nausea and pancreatitis can occur because of prednisone.

2. Birth Defects

Taking prednisone can slightly raise the likelihood of birth defects and low birth weight in babies. However, prednisone in early pregnancy carries a smaller risk. Prednisone has been known to raise the risk of the baby developing an oral cleft by four times.

3. Sleeplessness

Consistent use of prednisone has been associated with symptoms of insomnia. In fact nearly, three-quarters of all patients on the medication complain of sleeplessness as a side effect.

4. Increase in Weight

Around seventy per cent of prednisone patients experience an increase in body weight because of prolonged use of prednisone.

Precautionary Tips

Since prednisone is known to impact your health as well as your pregnancy, you must follow a few precautionary tips before taking this medication:

  • Always consult a doctor before using prednisone while you are pregnant. Furthermore, do follow their dosage and timing recommendations strictly.
  • Stopping the use of prednisone abruptly can cause lightheadedness, reduced blood pressure, breathing problems, drop in blood sugar levels, and so on.
  • Oral prednisone is more likely to affect the foetus as a higher amount enters the bloodstream, so you can obtain the inhalant form as an alternative.

Studies show that early-term foetuses are not affected by prednisone mostly because the placenta prevents the drug from entering the amniotic fluid. Furthermore, the baby’s liver is unable to activate prednisone until after the first trimester. Prednisone can cause severe complications in pregnant women but is often recommended even during pregnancy as the effects of the ailments treated by it are far worse.

Also Read: Taking Tramadol in Pregnancy

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