Baby born without skin due to mom taking potent medication while pregnant

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This poor child was born without any skin to protect her body.

Some medications may severely affect the development of your baby. In this article, find out what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy.

Whenever a woman finds out she is pregnant, she immediately starts changing her habits to ensure her body and baby are well taken care of. Unfortunately, for one mom who was not aware that the medication she was taking would harm her baby—her baby was born without skin.

A case study published in the Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association previously examined the reasons why a baby without skin was born. The case also highlights what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy — particularly azathioprine.

What medications are not safe to take during pregnancy: Mom gives birth to baby without skin

A mom who gave birth to a baby without skin had already noticed some abnormalities during her pregnancy. The development of this skinless baby was already rather slow during the mom’s gestational period. Unlike other healthy newborns, over 90% of this baby’s body was not covered by skin at birth. In addition, the baby was born with no nails, not even a single strand of hair, eyelashes or eyebrows.

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A screenshot of a baby affected by Aplasia cutis congenita. A warning to moms on what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy. | Image Source: JPMA

Not only that, this baby girl also lacks nipples; her ears have not fully developed, and all the blood vessels in her body can be seen visibly.

During delivery, the baby girl only weighed 1.02 kg, with a head circumference of only 26.5 cm. Generally, the head circumference of a newborn usually ranges between 33 cm to 38 cm.

With such a severe condition, the baby girl had to receive intensive care at the incubator. Even so, the baby still passed away after four days of receiving treatment.

The baby was affected by Aplasia cutis congenita: A rare condition

Dermatitis Aplasia cutis congenita is a condition where a person lacks skin from birth. Up until today, babies born with this condition are quite rare.

Most of the time, this condition affects areas around the head. It can also happen in either gender—boys and girls.

Exactly what caused this abnormality?

Apparently, the baby’s mom had given birth to two healthy babies previously. Both kids were born healthy, strong and without abnormalities.

During delivery, the mom admitted that she had not been previously affected by chickenpox or rashes while pregnant. However, she did admit having contracted pemphigus vulgaris.

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Most parts of the baby were not covered by skin at all. | Image Source: JPMA

What is pemphigus vulgaris?

Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune disease. This condition leads to vesicles on the skin or mouth, which gradually grows and bursts, leaving a scar.

Dr. Yarayut Suksathit of Thailand’s Dermatology Institute explains that pemphigus is a form of chronic pancreatitis or an inflamed pancreatic gland that happens under two very different guises: acute and chronic.

The disease is actually caused by a dysfunctional immune system. One of its symptoms are flaking or skin peeling off from the mouth. The condition can also lead to diphtheria and dermatitis. Pemphigus vulgaris affects people off all ages, including children, whether male or female.

The main symptoms that 50% of patients will experience are vesicles or boils in their mouth. Generally, blisters can also be found on the gums, cheeks or palate. Abrasions can also be seen in several areas or can spread throughout the mouth. Patients can experience excruciating pain from this condition.

Clearly, the illness leads to patients feeling discomfort. Furthermore, patients also drastically lose their appetite so much that they risk malnutrition and a hoarse voice.

This is the main reason why the mom admitted to taking medication while pregnant. Unfortunately, the medication she took turned out to put the fetus’s health at risk.

The mother said she had initially bought prednisolone, which she took at a dose of 60 mg daily during the first two months of pregnancy. Then the dosage gradually decreased until 30 mg/ day.

In addition, she also took 150 mg of azathioprine each day from her sixth till 20th week of pregnancy. Afterwards, doctors gradually reduced her dosage to about 15 mg each day.

The dangers of taking Azathioprine while pregnant

Moms, please note that taking azathioprine during pregnancy is not recommended by the FDA. Trace amounts of the drug can be found in breast milk when lactating moms consumed it.

Should pregnant moms need to take this medication while pregnant, they might risk their unborn baby developing incompletely. Researchers believe that azathioprine consumption while pregnant can lead to other issues with the fetus.

Research has also shown that pregnant women who take this drug can lead to slow fetal development. In addition, taking the drug also increases the risk of premature labor, low birth weight, and congenital abnormalities. These congenital defects can affect any body part, such as the head, neck, lungs, hands and feet, bladder, urethra, blood system, skin, and much more.

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What medications are not safe to take during pregnancy? One of them is azathioprine, which can lead to delayed foetal growth and Aplasia cutis congenita. | Image Source: JPMA

Of course, no mom or doctor wants a baby in the womb to be at risk of incomplete development. Therefore, all expecting women should ensure that the drugs they take are safe and will not affect fetal growth.

Moms, it is your role to maintain good health so that you can maintain proper fetal growth and development. Do avoid direct contact with people or places can risk of infecting you.

That way, you can ensure that the baby in is is of course to ensure that the baby that grows in your womb remains healthy, and certainly does not experience any abnormalities.

What medications are not safe to take during pregnancy?

We’ve answered the question “What medications are not safe to take during pregnancy?” before in previous articles. Here’s a short list of those that you shouldn’t take during pregnancy:

  1. Ibuprofen
  2. Aspirin
  3. Naproxen Sodium (Aleve)
  4. Acne medicines
  5. Ribavirin
  6. Vitamins
  7. Anti-fungal medication
  8. Anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants
  9. Antibiotics
  10. Antihistamines
  11. Migraine medications
  12. Sleeping aids
  13. Bismuth Subsalicylate

Read more on about why these medications aren’t suitable for you and your little ones here, moms!

What to consider before you consume Over-the-counter (OTC) medications

  1. Consult with your doctor. Before you take any medication make sure to consult with your doctor. You should know most of these popular OTC medications have serious long-term affects. Ask yourself, are you willing to put your baby’s life in danger to get rid of that headache?
  2. Avoid combination drugs. Do not take two different kinds of medications together. Only do this if your doctor recommends it. For instance, an anti-allergy drug and a pain reliever can be a deadly combination. So discuss this with your doctor as well.
  3. Read labels. Always make sure to read the labels before you buy or consume an OTC medication. Many times, ingredients like alcohol and caffeine show unannounced. So be careful with what you purchase and share the information with your doctor, as always.


This article about what medications are not safe to take during pregnancy was originally written in Bahasa Indonesia by Adisty Titania. It was translated and further edited by Kevin Wijaya Oey, later republished with the permission of theAsianparent Indonesia

References: JPMA

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