Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug use among women and the risk of birth defects

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Mar;206(3):228.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2011.11.019. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


Objective: We examined whether the use of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in early pregnancy was associated with a range of structural birth defects.

Study design: Data were from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, a multisite population-based, case-control study of risk factors for birth defects.

Results: Among women in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 22.6% reported the use of NSAIDs in the first trimester of pregnancy, most commonly ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen. Of the 29 defect groups that were examined, most were not associated with NSAID use. Small-to-moderate increased risks of some oral cleft groups, some neural tube defect groups, anophthalmia/microphthalmia, pulmonary valve stenosis, amniotic bands/limb body wall defects, and transverse limb deficiencies were associated with ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen exposure.

Conclusion: The use of NSAIDs in early pregnancy does not appear to be a major risk factor for birth defects, although there were a few moderate associations between NSAIDs and specific birth defects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / etiology
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Risk
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal