The shock link between certain antibiotics during pregnancy and major congenital malformations (MCM)—aka birth defects.
A recent study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology looked at the link between fetal exposure to antibiotics and the risk of major birth defects.
Canadian researchers followed nearly 140,000 mothers who had babies born in Quebec between 1998 and 2008.
They assessed mums’ use of antibiotics during the first trimester and then identified birth defects for the newborns throughout their first year of life.
Researchers found that organ-specific defects were linked to exposure to clindamycin (prescribed for skin and vaginal infections), doxycycline (used to treat acne, urinary tract, intestinal and eye infections, and other types of bacterial infections), quinolones (broad-spectrum antibiotics such as Cipro and Levaquin), macrolides (erythromycin and azythromycin—the infamous Z-Pack that you’ve used to cure a sinus infection—to name a few) and phenoxymethylpenicillin (sometimes called penicillin V, and used to treat strep, ear infections and cellulitis) during gestation.
For example, doxycycline use during pregnancy can increase the risk of baby’s circulatory system malformation, cardiac malformations, ventricular defects (a hole between the heart’s two lower chambers) and atrial septal defects (a hole between the two upper chambers).
Other birth defects were associated with quinolone, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, macrolides, erythromycin and phenoxymethylpenicillin.
“Infections during pregnancy are frequent and should be treated; however, our study highlights safer options for the treatment of infections, more specifically urinary tract infections or pulmonary infections, at least during the first trimester of pregnancy,” said the study’s senior author, Dr. Anick Bérard.
Please note consult your doctor if you are feeling unwell during pregnancy and discuss the best treatment option for both you and bub.
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