An exploratory study has found that two types of antibiotics taken during pregnancy are linked to an increased risk of several birth defects.
The two types of antibiotics are:
* Nitrofurantoins, including Macrobid and Furadantin
* Sulfonamides (also known as sulfa drugs), including Bactrim
Penicillins appear to be the safest of the drugs studied.
Antiobiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections. Bacterial infections can be dangerous to the fetus if untreated. So antibiotic treatment is sometimes appropriate for pregnant women.
If a pregnant woman needs to take an antibiotic, she should talk about the pro’s and con’s of the various choices with her health care provider.
It is too early to say if the antibiotics linked to birth defects in the study are the cause of the defects. Something else may be the cause. Researchers are continuing to study the question.
One of the authors of the study told U.S. News & World Report, “The most important message is that most commonly used antibiotics do not seem to be associated with the birth defects we studied.”
The study was published in the November issue of the medical journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.