Birth Control Effects on a Fetus

on Nov 16, 2012

by Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD

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Birth Control Effects on a Fetus

Although birth control pills are usually very effective, some women still conceive while taking them. Find out any harmful birth control effects on the fetus you may encounter.

Although birth control pills are usually very effective, some women still conceive while taking them. They usually ignore the symptoms of pregnancy, mistakenly associating them with other factors. In the meantime, the embryo develops, without the future mother suspecting it. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

When it comes to birth control effects on a fetus, the opinions of the specialists differ drastically. While some of them claim that there is no danger in taking contraceptive pills while you are pregnant, because their active substances do not cross the placenta, others present a whole list of deficiencies that can occur because of them. Here are the 5 most important effects.

The limbs, heart or lungs

Besides decreasing the level of hormones that play an important role in the evolution of the pregnancy, contraceptive pills can deprive the fetus of a part of the vitamins and minerals it needs for a normal development. This way, abnormalities of the limbs, heart or lungs may appear.


Hermaphroditism is another condition that can affect the fetus, if you are on birth control during pregnancy. The condition affects especially the female fetuses that develop a set of reproductive male organs, besides their own ones, that are dominant. The main cause of this condition is given by the prolonged exposure of hydroxyprogesterone and norethidrone, two synthetic progestogens contained in high doses in most of the contraceptive pills.


Preeclampsia is also among the birth control effects on a fetus. This condition consists in the mother having an unusually high blood pressure that affects her and the unborn child equally. Although many pregnant women who do not use birth control pills after the moment of conception also suffer from preeclampsia, the incidence is lower than in the case of those who do.

The liver

The liver is another organ of the fetus that can be influenced by the component of the birth control pills. The main factor is the poor absorption of bilirubin, a waste secretion of the blood’s red cells. Instead of being eliminated from the child’s body, this product stocks in the liver. Because of this, the baby may be born jaundiced.

The bladder and the prostate

The bladder and the prostate of the baby are two other organs that can be affected if you take birth control pills during pregnancy. These organs can be deformed, and the child may suffer from various affections related to them, once he or she grows up.

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Birth Control Effects on a Fetus, 4.4 out of 5 based on 9 ratings

Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.

  • sweetcheese1

    I am 19 and my fiancee and myself are trying to have a baby. I am overweight as well but dieting right now. My friend told me to start taking prenatal vitamins it would help. Any other advice would be highly taking into consideration!!

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  • Maureen Stephens, RN

    Knowing that being overweight can pose risks during pregnancy, you should try to work on your diet and exercise in order for you to increase your likelihood of getting pregnant. You should try taking fertility pills instead of prenatal supplements at the moment, since you’re still trying to conceive. Prenatal vitamins are intended to improve your child’s nutrition during pregnancy, while fertility pills induce ovulation when you’re trying to conceive.

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  • Nora Stanley

    I am 33 years old and was diagnosed in October with PCOS after missing my period several months in a row for the first time ever. One OBgyn prescribed 10 days of Provera followed by birth control for a few months to try to restart my cycle. I got a second opinion and that OBgyn told me to stop birth control and start Metformin. I stopped BC on the fourth pill of the second pack and have been on Metformin since December 13th. Today, I got two positive results from two different kinds of pregnancy tests! I’m hopeful and can’t wait to confirm my pregnancy with my Obgyn, however, their office is closed for the weekend and I’m worried about the possible effect of the birth control pills on the fetus if they were still in my system when I conceived. Should I be concerned? I can’t wait until Monday to talk to my Obgyn’s office and I’m hoping I get a reply to this before then! Thanks in advance!

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