First, can fetal or childhood exposure to synthetic glucocorticoids have lifelong, adverse effects? Glucocorticoids (such as hydrocortisone) are prescribed in vast amounts, because of their immunosuppressive or anti-inflammatory effects. During pregnancy, they are administered to women with certain endocrine disorders or who are at risk for delivering preterm. Heavy administration of them during pregnancy has been reported to result in children with smaller head circumferences, emotional and behavioral problems in childhood, and slowing of some developmental landmarks. Are these effects lifelong? No one knows.