A female may be generally prescribed antibiotics in pregnancy. However, specific antibiotics must be chosen carefully. Some antibiotics are okay to take in pregnancy, while others are not considered safe. Safety depends on various factors, such as the type of antibiotic when in the pregnancy the female takes the antibiotic, how much antibiotics does she take, what possible effects the antibiotics might have on the pregnancy and for how long the pregnant female is on antibiotics.
Antibiotics which are generally considered safe in pregnancy are-
- Penicillins, like amoxicillin, ampicillin
- Cephalosporins, like cefaclor, cephalexin
Some other antibiotics are believed to pose risks in pregnancy. For example, tetracyclines (an antibiotic) can discolor the developing baby’s teeth. Tetracyclines are not recommended after the 15th week of pregnancy.
If an antibiotic is the best way to treat the female’s condition, the doctor will prescribe the safest antibiotic in the safest dosage.
A recently published study found that babies whose mothers were prescribed heavy dosage of antibiotics considered unsafe prior to or during pregnancy were 20 % more likely to suffer from infections in childhood (up to 14 years of age) as compared to babies whose mothers were not on antibiotics.
Is it safe to take antibiotics during pregnancy?
Antibiotics are a wide class of medications used to stop and treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics work to either stop the bacteria from reproducing or to entirely kill the bacteria. Some infections that can be treated by antibiotics are:
- Ear and sinus infections
- Dental infections
- Strep throat
- Skin infections
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Bladder and kidney infections
- Whooping cough
Alternatives for antibiotics in pregnancy
If a pregnant female has an infection requiring antibiotics, luckily there are some safe alternatives that she may be able to take. The doctor will assess the female, any risk factors she might have, and will find an antibiotic that will be safe to take in pregnancy.
It is important for the pregnant female to get the correct treatment for infections during pregnancy. Untreated infections can create risks for the growth and development of the fetus and also the female’s well-being. The doctor who can help a pregnant female find the right treatment option.
Are all antibiotics equally safe during pregnancy?
The simple answer to- No. There are some antibiotics that should be avoided in pregnancy while some antibiotics are okay to take towards the end of the pregnancy but not in early pregnancy, and vice versa. There are also some antibiotics which are safe throughout the pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Your doctor can help you know if the antibiotic you need is safe in pregnancy or not.
There is no doubt that in some situations antibiotics in pregnancy are critical and lifesaving for the female, and can reduce the chances of serious complications in pregnancy and for the baby.
Yet antibiotic use should be administered by the doctor and should be restricted to cases where there is a clear benefit. Your doctor can also recommend some home remedies or natural treatments to treat the problem or infections rather than antibiotics.