Levonorgestrel (LNG), a dedicated emergency contraception (EC) product, has been available over-the-counter in China for more than 14 yr. Although LNG-EC is considered to have no effects on the developing fetus if the contraceptive fails and pregnancy occurs, there have been a few studies specifically examining this issue. The purpose of this study was to compare the physical and mental development of children born after LNG-EC failure with that of a cohort of children born to mothers with no history of exposure to LNG or any teratogenic substances. A group of 195 children who were exposed to LNG-EC during their mothers' conception cycle (study group) were matched to a group of 214 children without exposure to LNG (control group). The physical and mental development of the children were evaluated and compared over a 2-yr period. There were four congenital malformations in the study group and three in the control group (2.1% vs. 1.4%, respectively, P > 0.05). Over the 2-yr follow-up period, there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups with respect to children's weight, height, head circumference, and intelligence scores, and the values of all parameters of both groups were similar to those of the national standards. In summary, LNG-EC has no effect on the physical growth, mental development, or occurrence of birth defects in children born from pregnancies in which EC failed.
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Vol. 91 • No. 1