Contrary to human experience, experiments on pregnant mice and rabbits would suggest that corticosteroids are very dangerous to the unborn child. In some strains of mice cortisone produces cleft palate in up to 100% of the offspring.1 With rabbits, corticosteroids mainly affect the heart but can also cause severe growth retardation in the uterus and death of the foetus. However, scientists have found “very wide species variation”2 and cortisone is not considered harmful to human babies.1 Rats and monkeys are also “very tolerant of corticosteroids in pregnancy, abnormalities or growth retardation only occurring uncommonly, with high doses of the most potent compounds.”2
1) R.M Ward & T.P.Green, Pharmarology & Therapeutics, 1988, vol.36, 326.
2) R K Sidhu in Drugs & Pregnancy: Human Teratorgenesis & Related Problems, Ed. D F.Hawkins (Churchill Livingstone, 1983).
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