Can You Take Antibiotics While Pregnant?

Can You Take Antibiotics While Pregnant?

Part of being pregnant is navigating what may feel like a whole laundry list of dos and don’ts.

Sushi? Wine? Sleeping on your back?

There’s all sorts of things that find themselves on the no-go list.

And while this can mean that you have to make some inconvenient changes, there’s method in this mindfulness.

Taking extra precautions is all about helping you on your journey and keeping you and your growing baby healthy.

So now for the big question: can you take antibiotics while pregnant?

Well, it’s complicated. We’ll start at the very beginning.

In this article: 📝

  • What are antibiotics?
  • Can I take antibiotics while pregnant?
  • Which antibiotics are safe during pregnancy?
  • Which antibiotic is not safe in pregnancy?
  • Antibiotics while pregnant: the bottom line

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics fend off illnesses caused by harmful bacteria.

Our world is full of bacteria. Some bacteria are actually good for you, and others don’t affect you at all.

But then there are those that cause infection and illness—and these are the ones that you may need antibiotics for.

Antibiotics kill bacteria and/or make it hard for them to multiply and grow in you.

Unfortunately, bacterial infections don’t stay away during pregnancy.

In fact, you may even be more susceptible to them.

That’s because your immune system goes through some important changes during pregnancy.

And because your baby is still busy putting together their own defenses, they are more vulnerable to infection, too.

So is it safe to take antibiotics while pregnant? Here’s the lowdown.

Can I take antibiotics while pregnant?

The short answer: yes—but it depends on the type.

If you catch an illness caused by bacteria, it’s important to treat it to keep you and your baby safe. This could mean that your doctor will prescribe you an antibiotic.

Some conditions that you might take antibiotics for during pregnancy include:

1. Urinary tract infections (UTI)

UTIs are an infection of any part of your urinary system, including your bladder, urethra, and kidneys.

They are the most common bacterial infections in pregnancy, and leaving them untreated can be dangerous for you when you’re pregnant.

They can lead to serious kidney infections and have been linked to preterm labor.

2. Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

BV is a condition caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your vagina.

Being pregnant, you’re more at risk of BV because of all the hormone changes.

Most women do not experience any symptoms, but when they do happen, you may experience abnormal and foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

It’s common and treatable but shouldn’t be left alone, either.

That’s because it’s connected to preterm delivery and low birth weights.

3. Group B Streptococcus infections (GBS)

Up to 20% of pregnant women carry GBS.

These bacteria can travel in and out of your body, often causing no harm to you.

But for some people, including newborn babies, infection with these bacteria can cause serious illnesses.

It’s been linked to pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis, and seizures.

That’s why recently, the CDC updated their guidelines to include GBS screening in week 36 or 37 of pregnancy.

If the bacteria is found, it’s recommended that IV antibiotics are given to you during labor.

4. Listeria infection

This type of bacterial infection comes from eating foods that contain listeria bacteria.

You are ten times more likely to get listeria infection when you’re pregnant, and it can be seriously harmful to you and your baby.

It has been linked to pregnancy loss, stillbirths, and preterm labor.

That’s why it’s really important to treat it with antibiotics.

5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

[STDs](,before%20they%20develop%20into%20disease) can cause major health complications for both you and your baby.

Some STDs, like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis, can be treated with antibiotics when you’re pregnant.

So, you get the picture. If infection strikes, it’s important to get help.

And that brings us to our next question:

Which antibiotics are safe during pregnancy?

It’s important to work with your doctor to weigh up the risks and benefits of taking specific antibiotics to treat your condition.

While some antibiotics are safe, others come with serious risks that are more pronounced at different stages of your pregnancy.

Some antibiotics that are considered safe for use in pregnancy are:

Can antibiotics cause a miscarriage?

First, know that pregnancy loss is complicated—and it’s never your fault.

(And if you feel alone in this experience, reach out. We’re having the conversation, kindly.)

Second, there is reason to be cautious when taking antibiotics during pregnancy.

Recent research suggests that some antibiotics have links to pregnancy loss and should be avoided during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But it’s not all antibiotics.

And not getting the treatment you need can also be dangerous.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best course of action is for you and your unique situation.

Which antibiotic is not safe in pregnancy?

Antibiotics that should be avoided during pregnancy include macrolides, quinolones, tetracyclines, and sulfonamides.

Sulfonamides have also been linked to the development of health complications for your baby, such as heart conditions, cleft lip, and jaundice.

And tetracycline has been connected to complications with the development of your baby’s teeth.

Antibiotics while pregnant: the bottom line

If you do get ill while you’re pregnant, it’s important to get to your doctor as soon as possible.

Let them know that you’re pregnant and how far along you are so that they can get the right medication to you.

If they give you an antibiotic, take the full course exactly as prescribed to prevent the infection coming back.

Wishing you a speedy recovery. ❤️


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