Antibiotics During Pregnancy: Certain Drugs May Cause More Harm Than Others

Use of antibiotics during pregnancy is not entirely uncommon but some types of antibiotics may be doing more harm to the mother and the unborn child than others.

Obstetrics-gynecology care providers are regularly faced with the dilemma of prescribing antibiotics to pregnant women as there are some studies that show links between the use of antibiotics during pregnancy and complications during and after birth.

In situations like these, the potential benefits of the antibiotic need to be weighed against the risk it poses to the fetus. It is also important to factor in the dosage and the duration of the medication.

According to the Mayo Clinic, certain antibiotics are generally considered safe to use during pregnancy. These include:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Penicillin
  • Nitrofurantoin

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a list of Pharmaceutical Pregnancy Categories that can help gauge the prenatal safety of medications. The drugs have been classified into A, B, C, D and X categories with category A safe for use in pregnant women, while those under the X category have been found to be harmful to fetuses.

According to the National Institutes of Health, some of the commonly used antibiotics that should be avoided during pregnancy are:

  • Streptomycin and kanamycin – may cause hearing loss.
  • Tetracycline – can lead to weakening, hypoplasia, and discoloration of long bones and teeth.

Consulting a health care provider before taking any medication is highly recommended during pregnancy. The professionals are in a better position to gauge the need for the antibiotics and can prescribe dosages that would keep any possible damage to the minimum.

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