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.

Share your comments below

Shutterstock photo

  • woah that is a little scary to hear and i hope that more research is done in this area. i do hope that they can find much more safer alternatives for expectant mothers then if this is the case.


  • Interesting research for expectant mums to know about for sure.


  • Interesting article, thank your so sharing.


  • I would always be guided by my gut and my GP’s expertise.


  • It doesn’t surprise me, antibiotics aren’t as innocent !


  • Do hope these will be limited by doctors prescribing them for mums in their first trimester – this is a tricky time, as y=sometimes it takes the first three months to know you are pregnant.


  • I tried really hard not to take anything while pregnant, but I know it’s not tha implement for everyone.


  • I took ammoxcillin during my first trimester. Luckily all is well.


  • Oh my! I am glad I never took antibiotics while pregnant. I hope doctors are very scrupulous before prescribing antibiotics to pregnant women.


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Please enter your comment below
Would you like to include a photo?
No picture uploaded yet.
Please wait to see your image preview here before hitting the submit button.
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by you browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating