Will birth control during early pregnancy hurt the baby?

Birth control is not 100 percent effective, though it comes close.  Surprise pregnancies account for about half of all mothers-to-be, but if they are taking birth control pills unknowingly during the first weeks of pregnancy will the child or mother be at risk?

Birth control pills claim 99.7 percent effectiveness, but that is if the user takes the pill everyday at the same time of day. Dr. Bradley Forsyth, gynecologist at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women, said "normal users" skip a day every so often or take the pill at odd hours, and this brings the effectiveness down to only 92 percent.

"The number one sign that you could be pregnant is that you missed your period but if you're on birth control pills you don't have a cycle as frequently," said Dr. Forsyth.

A study from 1970 linked taking the pill during early pregnancy with cardiac birth defects, but a 1990 study later debunked that claim, said Dr. Forsyth.

"So we've essentially taken that old myth that birth control used in early pregnancy caused cardiac or congenital defects and put it to rest," explained Dr. Forsyth.

Another myth is that female babies  affected by birth control pills in early pregnancy could be born with more masculine traits, but "birth control pills don't have the quantity of hormone that it would take for that to be a problem," said Dr. Forsyth.

Birth control basically tricks your body into thinking it is pregnant.

"It is called a pseudo-pregnancy whenever you take birth control pills and basically because it inhibits ovulation.  That is the same effect that your body has when its pregnant," said Dr. Forsyth.

Dr. Forsyth recommends seeking medical attention if you suspect you are pregnant.

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