There has always been back and forth about what is healthy during pregnancy, especially early pregnancy. And, in the case of antibiotics, there has been some bad press in the past, and directly linked to early pregnancy. Obviously, if you are sick and need treatment due to a bacterial infection, you need treatment, but the issue is in the choice of drugs.
What are the main culprits?
Well, in 2009 there was some data derived from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study, and the authors spoke out against the use of sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins. Sulfonamides are also known as sulfa drugs and have good antibacterial effects against a broad spectrum of bacteria; sulfa drugs (i.e. Bactrim or Septra) are commonly used to treat UTI’s (urinary tract infections). Nitrofurantoins, the most commonly used is Macrobid, are antibiotics that are also used to treat UTI’s; they are not as common as Sulfa drugs, but have a lower resistance rate (for people who have bacteria resistant UTI’s).
What is the current scoop on antibiotics use?
The key is to treat the bacteria present, as accurately as you can. So, The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics think that it is safe to use these drugs in the first trimester, as long as they are the most appropriate to treat the bacteria of a UTI or other infection and there aren’t alternatives. And despite publishing the 2009 study, the authors noted that they saw a higher risk in birth defects, but no other studies showed those results, which usually makes me think there is some sort of flaw…I mean, these drugs have been around for ages, and just in 2009 it was found they have serious side effects?? Hmmm….NurseBridgid doesn’t think so!
What does this mean?
Well, the risk of NOT treating an infection when you are pregnant is much more detrimental to your unborn baby than taking an antibiotic. Plus, you should always go and see your HCP or OBGYN to ensure that you do have a bacterial infection that requires treatment with antibiotics. Your HCP will discuss risks and benefits and most likely take a urine sample or blood samples to be able to prescribe the most appropriate drug for you; so no taking some random antibiotics that you have “left over” (which causes me chest pain, baseline….but definitely not when you are pregnant!)
So stay healthy, eat well, rest, and start learning what to expect when you are expecting!!
Yours in Good Health