• By Dana Sparks

Women’s Wellness: Is it safe to take antibiotics or aspirin during pregnancy?

November 9, 2017

pills, medicine, antibiotic, syringe with the the word antibiotic on a piece of paper

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed during pregnancy. The specific medication must be chosen carefully, however. Some antibiotics are OK to take during pregnancy, while others are not. Safety depends on various factors, including the type of antibiotic, when in your pregnancy you take the antibiotic, how much you take, what possible effects it might have on your pregnancy and for how long you're on antibiotics.

Here's a sampling of antibiotics generally considered safe during pregnancy:

  • Penicillins, including amoxicillin, ampicillin
  • Cephalosporins, including cefaclor, cephalexin
  • Erythromycin
  • Clindamycin

Certain other antibiotics are believed to pose risks during pregnancy. For example, tetracyclines can discolor a developing baby's teeth. Tetracyclines aren't recommended for use after the 15th week of pregnancy.

If an antibiotic is the best way to treat your condition, your health care provider will prescribe the safest antibiotic at the safest dosage. If you have questions or concerns about the use of an antibiotic during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider.

What about taking aspirin during pregnancy?close up of woman putting aspirin pills into her hand

Generally, aspirin isn't recommended during pregnancy unless you have certain medical conditions.

Low-dose aspirin — 60 to 100 milligrams daily — is sometimes recommended for pregnant women with recurrent pregnancy loss, clotting disorders and preeclampsia.

However, use of higher doses of aspirin poses various risks depending on the stage of pregnancy. During the first trimester, use of higher doses of aspirin poses a concern for pregnancy loss and congenital defects. Taking higher doses of aspirin during the third trimester increases the risk of the premature closure of a vessel in the fetus's heart. Use of high-dose aspirin for long periods in pregnancy also increases the risk of bleeding in the brain of premature infants.

If you need to take aspirin during your third trimester of pregnancy, your health care provider will likely closely monitor you and your baby.

If you need to take a pain reliever during pregnancy, talk to your health care provider about the options. He or she might suggest occasional use of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) instead of aspirin.

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The article above is written for mayoclinic.org by Dr. Yvonne Butler Tobah Women's Wellness logo

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