There is a very small correlation, if any, between the prior use of OCs and congenital malformations, including Down's syndrome. There are few, if any, recent reports on masculinization of a female fetus born to a mother who took an OC containing 1 mg of a progestogen during early pregnancy. However, patients suspected of being pregnant and who are desirous of continuing that pregnancy should not continue to take OCs, nor should progestogen withdrawal pregnancy tests be used. Concern still exists regarding the occurrence of congenital abnormalities in babies born to such women. The incidence of postoperative infection after first trimester therapeutic abortion in this country is low. However, increasing numbers of women are undergoing repeated pregnancy terminations, and their risk for subsequent pelvic infections may be multiplied with each succeeding abortion. The incidence of prematurity due to cervical incompetence or surgical infertility after first trimester pregnancy terminations is not increased significantly. Asherman's syndrome may occur after septic therapeutic abortion. The pregnancy rate after treatment of this syndrome is low. The return of menses and the achievement of a pregnancy may be slightly delayed after OCs are discontinued, but the fertility rate is within the normal range by 1 year. The incidence of postpill amenorrhea of greater than 6 months' duration is probably less than 1%. The occurrence of the syndrome does not seem to be related to length of use or type of pill. Patients with prior normal menses as well as those with menstrual abnormalities before use of OCs may develop this syndrome. Patients with normal estrogen and gonadotropin levels usually respond with return of menses and ovulation when treated with clomiphene. The rate for achievement of pregnancy is much lower than that for patients with spontaneous return of menses. The criteria for defining PID or for categorizing its severity are diverse. The incidence of PID is higher among IUD users than among patients taking OCs or using a barrier method. The excess risk of PID among IUD users, with the exception of the first few months after insertion, is related to sexually transmitted diseases and not the IUD. Women with no risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases have little increased risk of PID or infertility associated with IUD use. There appears to be no increased risk of congenital anomalies, altered sex ratio, or early pregnancy loss among spermicide users. All present methods of contraception entail some risk to the patient. The risk of imparied future fertility with the use of any method appears to be low.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
This is a comprehensive review of the risk of infertility or adverse effects on pregnancy outcome, such as chromosomal or congenital birth defects, amenorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or spontaneous abortion, after use of oral contraceptives, IUDs, induced abortion or spermicides. The sequelae reported for orals are chromosomal abnormalities, the VACTERL anomalies, masculinization of female fetus, Down's syndrome and post-pill amenorrhea. Several large studies found no increased risks for birth defects, although the risk of malformations when pregnant women inadvertently take the pill in early pregnancy was high in 1 of 2 such studies. Masculinization was reported with high dose combined hormone treatment and in 2 infants of a woman who took Enovid. the bulk of recent studies on secondary amenorrhea indicate that it is rare, but just as likely to occur in women with prior normal or abnormal menstrual patterns. One study found that amenorrhea is 7.7 times more likely to develop in women who took the pill to regulate menses. It is recommended that women with amenorrhea be screened for pituitary tumors and counseled before prescribing pills, and that those who fail to ovulate after stopping the pill be treated at least 6 months with clomiphene. A massing of all studies on the impact of 1st trimester induced abortion on subsequent fertility, premature delivery and spontaneous abortion, shows all relative risks around 1.0. After multiple abortions, the results are conflicting. In contrast, prior series analyzing illegal abortion have an unquestioned adverse effect on fertility and pregnancy outcome. Asherman's syndrome, a rare disorder of intrauterine adhesions, menstrual abnormalities, infertility and habitual abortion, has been associated with D & C abortion concurrent with pelvic sepsis, or traumatic pregnancy with D & C. This condition can be treated with moderate success. The bulk of IUD studies conclude that there is no overall decrement in fertility, while some disaggregated studies point the Dalkon shield as a higher risk and copper IUDs as a lower risk. PID and its consequences are now considered related to the immediate post-insertion time frame, or specifically to women who are at risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease, i.e., those with multiple partners, those with prior PID and nulliparas. Comprehensive review of current large series on spermicides shows no relationship between their use and spontaneous abortion or congenital malformation.