Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from 13,155 women who had children with birth defects. They found statistically significant correlations with antibiotic use. Two classes were identified as the main culprits: sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins (commonly used to treat UTI’s e.g., Macrobid). Other classes of antibiotics such as penicillins, erythromycins and cephalosporins seemed safer and were not significantly associated with birth defects, though there were some.
The main point here is that we need to be very careful with indiscriminate use of antibiotics. If you are sick, it doesn’t mean you have a bacterial infection and if you have a bacterial infection it doesn’t mean that just any antibiotic will kill it. There are also a lot of people taking antibiotics prophylactically during pregnancy to prevent all sorts of things like UTI’s, etc. I think this study is a wake up call. We should only use antibiotics when they are necessary and when we know that the organism is susceptible to the particular antibiotic.
Also note, that the women they looked at included women who took antibiotics one month before becoming pregnant. Prevention is the best medicine and during pregnancy there are many things you can do that have been proven to optimize your immune system such as acupuncture, good food choices, moderate exercise and stress relief.
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2009; 163 (11): 978


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