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Which antibiotics are safe during pregnancy?

Saturday, 04 November 2006
Answered by: Dr. Rajesh Ahlawat
Director, Urology and Renal Transplantation
Fortis Hospitals
New Delhi
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Q. I am 12 weeks pregnant and my gynaecologist recently did a urine culture. The results showed that I have bladder infection, for which she prescribed Augmentin (twice a day for 2 weeks). She said that the drug was safe, but I am not completely satisfied. Is this drug really safe? Will it do any harm to my baby? Is it true that baby girls tend to kick more or earlier than boys?

A.  Women in the childbearing years are commonly treated with antibiotics and other anti-microbial medications. In pregnancy, the issue of which medication to use comes up frequently, whether for a bladder infection or other conditions. In general, every medication is assigned to a category (A, B, C, D, or X) based on how safe or risky it is to use during pregnancy. Only a few medications fall into category A, which means that human studies have shown no evidence of fetal harm in the first trimester or later in the pregnancy. Most antibiotics are Category B, which means that there is no known association with birth defects or other pregnancy - related complication and the drug is probably safe. These include Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Augmentin (amoxicillin-clavulanate), Nitrofurantoin and Cephalosporins. Others are Category C, meaning that either there isn't enough information or there are some concerns arising from animal studies, but no confirmation of problems like birth defects in humans. These include Co-trimoxazole and Trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin. Category D drugs are not safe and include tetracycline, doxycycline and Sulfa drugs.

A.  Women in the childbearing years are commonly treated with antibiotics and other anti-microbial medications. In pregnancy, the issue of which medication to use comes up frequently, whether for a bladder infection or other conditions. In general, every medication is assigned to a category (A, B, C, D, or X) based on how safe or risky it is to use during pregnancy. Only a few medications fall into category A, which means that human studies have shown no evidence of fetal harm in the first trimester or later in the pregnancy. Most antibiotics are Category B, which means that there is no known association with birth defects or other pregnancy - related complication and the drug is probably safe. These include Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Augmentin (amoxicillin-clavulanate), Nitrofurantoin and Cephalosporins. Others are Category C, meaning that either there isn't enough information or there are some concerns arising from animal studies, but no confirmation of problems like birth defects in humans. These include Co-trimoxazole and Trimethoprim, ciprofloxacin. Category D drugs are not safe and include tetracycline, doxycycline and Sulfa drugs.

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