Antibiotic use in pregnancy

7 February 2018 | Pregnancy

Dr Penny Sheehan, Head of Maternity Unit:

We wish to reassure women that it is safe to take antibiotics during pregnancy.

New research has found that children born to mothers who have taken antibiotics have a small increased risk of being admitted to hospital with an infection, between birth and 14 years of age.

This large-scale study looked at mothers and children in Denmark and has shown an association between antibiotic use in the mother and infections in their children, but it does not prove antibiotics use is causing the increased risk.

The research found that 28 children in every 100 was admitted to hospital with an infection at some point between birth and 14 years of age. It found an extra 3 to 4 in 100 children would be admitted potentially as a result of their mother’s antibiotic use in pregnancy.

Women should certainly only be given antibiotics in pregnancy when an infection has been diagnosed and not for a cough or cold.

Untreated infections in pregnancy can be very serious and lead to preterm delivery and other serious health problems for both mother and baby. It is crucial women take antibiotics if they have an infection in pregnancy and they should be reassured that any risk of a possible later infection in their child is far outweighed by the benefit of receiving treatment.