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Some antibiotics increase the risk of serious birth defects


Expectant mothers should be careful about using antibiotics
In general, taking medication during pregnancy should be handled with care. For example, researchers found some time ago that taking antidepressants during pregnancy can increase the risk of autism in children. Experts are now warning that taking certain antibiotics during pregnancy increases the risk of serious birth defects in the newborn.

The University of Montreal scientists found in their research that taking some antibiotics in mothers-to-be increases their children's risk of serious birth defects. The doctors published the results of their study in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

These antibiotics can cause birth defects in newborns
Antibiotics such as clindamycin, doxycycline, quinolones, macrolides and phenoxymethylpenicillin have been linked to organ-specific malformations, the experts explain. Although the absolute risks of birth defects were relatively small, doctors should consider prescribing other antibiotics when treating patients with infections during pregnancy. Such infections occur frequently during pregnancy and should definitely be treated, explains author Anick Berard from the University of Montreal.

These antibiotics do not appear to cause birth defects
The results of the current study also showed that amoxicillin, cephalosporins and nitrofurantoin were not associated with birth defects. Therefore, if possible, pregnant women should use these drugs. The experts explain how dangerous birth defects can be reduced by taking antibiotics during pregnancy.

There are effective treatment options
The doctors also looked at some options for treating infections. These included in particular urinary tract infections or so-called pulmonary infections. There are actually effective options for treating these disorders, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, the researchers say. In their study, the experts analyzed the data from over 1.39.938 live births in Quebec (Canada) between 1998 and 2008.

Pregnant women should be educated about risks
Expectant mothers should be informed exactly about the risks for the unborn child by their doctor when using antibiotics. This is the only way to avoid serious birth defects and protect the health and life of the newborn, the experts emphasize. (as)

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