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Antibiotics in pregnancy

Many women believe that it is unwise to take antibiotics in pregnancy. However, there are some forms of the drug which are important in tackling dangerous infections.

Posted: 21 July 2007
by Laura Lee Davies

It is true that pregnant women should have an increased wariness of what they are putting into their bodies when they are expecting. Because all the baby's nutrition is reaching him via his mother's blood, he is also taking in whatever else might be in her system. However, there are medicines during pregnancy that are fine to take. Indeed, some health professionals now believe that drug companies and doctors might be too cautious during pregnancy and be depriving women of medication they could be taking.
However, the advice still stands:
Never take anything (not even a throat lozenge!) without reading the packaging properly.
When buying any medication over the counter, tell the pharmacist that you are trying for a baby or that you might be pregnant or that you are pregnant. (Don't presume he'll notice your bump!)
Discuss any medication with your GP. In some cases, the effect of not taking something may be worse than taking it, and in other cases, there may be a safer alternative you don't know about.

When would I need antibiotics?
With a baby, whilst medication can be dangerous, in some cases, the infection poses a greater danger.
If you develop a chest infection or a urine infection, for example, there is a risk of premature birth or fetal damage.
Whether you are pregnant or not, your doctor will not prescribe anitbiotics unless you really need them, as it is well known that increased use of antibiotics reduces their effectiveness.
For example, a bad cold can seem awful, but if your doctor cannot detect an infection after listening to your chest, you won't be given antibiotics unduly. If you are coughing badly it can give you a bad ache across your bump, your GP may be able to suggest or prescribe a safe linctus for you.

What antibiotics are safe?
There are various antibiotics available to treat a range of infections.
Your doctor will check that you are being prescribed one that is suitable in pregnancy, but do also mention that you are pregnant when collecting them from your pharmacist.

If in doubt about whether or not you have a serious problem, your regular checks with your midwife or GP are a chance to have your urine tested, and to mention anything which is bothering you.
Keep your midwife team's number with you so you can call them if you have a concern. Or you can call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

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Just a little bit of reassurance for you all out there about anitibiotics in pregnancy i suffer with water and kidney infections all the time and even worse in pregnancy i have been prescribed cefalexin 500mg from my gp to take 3 times a day for a week and then 250mg 4 times  day until the baby is born he has assured me this is fine, so if you gp trys to give you any other ones in pregnancy do not take them or be very very cautious.

Posted: 31/08/2007 at 18:11

I have been described amoxicillin 500mg for a water infection twice during my pregnancy so far, I was prone to them before and even more so now, im 16weeks along.

 The health authority classes it as a catergory b drug, this means that there is no evidence in case studies or animal tests that it causes harm to baby, it does cross the placenta but with the risk of premature labour should it turn into a kidney infection the benfits outway the small unproven risk. some women are allergic to either cefalexin or amoxicillin so you should follow your gps advise an infection can be far more devastating to a baby than an antibiotic. take care everyone, good luck to all mums to be. xx

Posted: 11/09/2008 at 10:21

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