Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Pregnancy

Women who are pregnant should not use Ortho Tri-Cyclen. Pregnancy problems could occur if birth control pills are taken during this time. If you accidentally use Ortho Tri-Cyclen before realizing you are pregnant, however, serious problems are not likely to occur. If you are taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen and pregnancy occurs, stop using the oral contraceptive immediately and talk to your healthcare provider.

Is Ortho Tri-Cyclen Safe During Pregnancy?

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® (norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill. As with all oral contraceptives, Ortho Tri-Cyclen should not knowingly be used during pregnancy. Although it is unlikely for a woman to become pregnant while taking the drug correctly, the risk of pregnancy increases significantly if Ortho Tri-Cyclen is not taken properly.
(Ortho Tri-Cyclen is equivalent to Norgestimate and Ethinyl Estradiol, Tri-Estarylla™, Tri-Linyah™, Tri-Sprintec®, TriNessa®, and Tri-Previfem® birth control pills. The information in this article also applies to each of these medications.)

Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Pregnancy Category X

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category X is given to medications that should not be used during pregnancy, usually due to serious problems, such as birth defects or miscarriages.
Although it is "common knowledge" that taking birth control pills during early pregnancy is dangerous, in reality, doing so is not likely to cause any serious problems, even though Ortho Tri-Cyclen is a pregnancy Category X medication. Large studies have shown no increased risk of birth defects when birth control pills were accidentally taken in early pregnancy. However, Ortho Tri-Cyclen should never be taken intentionally during pregnancy, nor should it be used in an attempt to prevent a miscarriage.

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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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