Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy

Penicillin and several other antibacterial medications commonly taken by pregnant women do not appear to be associated with many birth defects, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, other antibiotics, such as sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins, may be associated with several severe birth defects and require additional scrutiny.

Antibiotic pregnancy

It is a well known fact that infections usually happen to a lady when she is pregnant. The most prone areas for infection are the reproductive or the urinary tracts. Infection in these sensitive areas can even harm the baby and that is the reason why they should be cured. Mostly women use antibiotics in order to treat these as well as other infections at the time of pregnancy. Bacterial infections themselves can cause problems for the fetus if left unchecked,  so pregnant women shouldn’t completely avoid antibiotics. Instead, women should discuss antibiotics choices with their doctors. It was found that mothers of babies with birth defects were more likely than mothers with healthy babies to report taking two types of antibiotics during pregnancy: sulfa drugs (brand names include Thiosulfil Forte and Bactrim) and urinary germicides called nitrofurantoins (brand names include Furadantin and Macrobid). The March of Dimes reported anencephaly, a fatal brain problem linked to sulfas, affecting about 1 in 10,000 births in the United States. Cleft palate occurs about 20 per 10,000 births.

Another most common infection that happens in most of the pregnant ladies is the cold, which is also known as the infection of the upper respiratory. Most upper respiratory infections are viral in origin and antibiotics will have no effect. The medical community is trying to reduce the frequency of prescriptions for antibiotics as well as choose types which are less broad in their application. Microbial resistance poses a major threat to the public health and to future generations.

It  has been  known for years that babies whose mother receive certain antibiotics are at higher risk for fungal or yeast infections after birth as well as dehydration from drug induced diarrhea. Healthy full term babies usually do well despite these occurrences, but stressed or preterm babies often do not.

Antibiotics prescribed as a cure for tuberculosis, respiratory infections and acne should be avoided at all cost. The medication used to treat tuberculosis can cause deafness in your child. Some of the antibiotics can also discolor your baby’s teeth.

Antibiotic pregnancy

In  the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it was reported that an astounding 46% of the mothers in the study received some type of antibiotic during their pregnancies or during labor. Babies who were exposed to these medications had a decreased ability to fight off infection. Almost half of them were resistant to Ampicillin, a commonly used broad spectrum antibiotic.

There are many types of antibiotics available in the market. However, penicillin is the most common drugs used at the time of the pregnancy. It is sold in market by the several names like cephradine, cefalexin, cefuroxime, cefaclor etc. These commonly used drugs contain the basic amount of cloxacillin, amxycillin, and methicillin. These medicines are considered as the safest drug at the time of pregnancy.

Sampling of antibiotics generally considered safe during pregnancy:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Penicillin
Along with the information about antibiotics and pregnancy there are factors, which should be taken into consideration as well. These factors are:

  • The kind of antibiotic.
  • Dosage of the antibiotic prescribed.
  • Duration of medication.
  • The trimester of pregnancy you currently are in.

The duration of medication is an important factor, which you should not forget. As prolonged exposure to antibiotics can cause certain deformities in the fetus and in a worst case scenario, even a miscarriage. In which trimester you are taking the drug is also important, as there are some antibiotics, which are safe only during certain trimesters.

It is highly  recommended that pregnant women discuss medications with their doctors.


The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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