Is Antibiotic Use Safe in Pregnancy?

The safety of antibiotics during pregnancy has been a debate for several years. Some doctors thought they were safe, still some doctors cautioned they were dangerous. In this confusion, women were not sure about what they should do. Now, it seems authorities are in agreement that most antibiotics are safe to use during pregnancy.

Although, doctors think that during pregnancy, most antibiotics are safe, there should be some guidelines that should be followed. During the first trimester, antibiotics should be avoided, since that is when they are the most dangerous to the fetus. It is also agreed that antibiotics should only be used when there are no other options available and if needed, only the lowest possible dose should be given.

Some studies show that taking antibiotics during pregnancy increases the risk of developing asthma by twenty percent in the unborn child. This data is collected from studies on Danish children which is published in the journal, The Journal of Pediatrics.

Only a few controlled scientific studies have done to evaluate the safety of antibiotics during pregnancy, doctors usually rely on animal research data and from first-hand experiences in practice to make a decision in prescribing antibiotics to pregnant women. So, when is an antibiotic necessary? Although it is safe to avoid antibiotics for common illnesses such as colds, Doctors may prescribe antibiotics in pregnancy for appendicitis, bladder infection, and urinary tract infections (UTI). (

So, which are the safe antibiotics during pregnancy? According to FDA drug guidelines the antibiotics that are prescribed during pregnancy are grouped under Category A or Category B. In the first trimester, it is considered appropriate to prescribe sulfonamides or nitrofurantoins. Sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins may be used for the treatment and prevention of UTI and other infections during second and third trimesters.

What all this means is that one has to take caution, when it comes to pregnancy and antibiotics. Generally, during first trimester of pregnancy when organs and tissues are in the developing stage, babies are more vulnerable to harmful effects of antibiotics.

Pregnant women should discuss her options with her physician before getting antibiotic treatment and it is important to remember to choose an antibiotic with fewer negative outcomes. Your Doctor has a choice depending on several factors, like the targeted bacteria, the possibility for antibiotic resistance, and the risks of adverse effects on pregnancy and lactation. He or she should be able to explain the particular choice of antibiotic, and should be able to help you in evaluating the risks and benefits of its use.

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Written By: Anila J., United States (A postgraduate in Biology).

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice