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How Safe is it to Take Antibiotics During Pregnancy?

The bond of a mother and a child is the most special one and this relationship starts developing right from the moment a baby is conceived. So even when a mother has not seen her child, she takes every safety measure for its health. Pregnancy is thus a period of utmost concern and one commonly asked question during this time is if the intake of antibiotics is safe for the baby if taken during pregnancy. There is no simple answer to this question, as it depends on the medical components and the dosage of the antibiotic being taken.

How Safe is it to Take Antibiotics During Pregnancy?

Are Antibiotics Indispensable in Pregnancy?

Antibiotics are taken to treat bacterial infections. But in many cases, they are also prescribed in viral infections to prevent secondary bacterial infections. However, overuse of antibiotics can lead to drug-resistance to bacterial infection and should be used with caution and wherever required.

Antibiotics are generally unavoidable in cases of urinary tract infections and group B strep infections. For these infections, antibiotics are the only medications available and even though they can have a side-effect on the health of the unborn baby, they need to be used during pregnancy, because an untreated infection will cause more harm to the health of the baby.

How Safe is it to Take Antibiotics During Pregnancy?

Even though there are many cases in which taking an antibiotic seems to be the easiest way to cure an infection, but it is highly recommended to ask the doctor for certain antibiotics that ensure recovery without affecting the unborn baby’s health. Certain things to be kept in mind when taking antibiotics during pregnancy are:

Take Antibiotics Only When Prescribed: Avoid taking antibiotics without doctor’s prescription whether you are pregnant or not, as certain components of the antibiotics have a side-effect on the mother’s and the baby’s health. Only a doctor can recommend the best antibiotic for you. There are few antibiotics that are not considered safe in the first trimester of pregnancy, while there are others that are safe to use in the second and third trimester.

Be Careful Of The Antibiotic You’re Taking: While there are some antibiotics that are recommended by the doctors to treat a few ailments easily, make sure that you go through the components of the medicine yourself too. Various health authorities across the globe have issued a list of antibiotics that are completely safe to be taken during pregnancy; while there are many others which shouldn’t be taken at all. These categories have been created after in-depth study of the topic and with the help of sample pregnant women, so make sure that your doctor is acquainted with all your past experiences and medical history. Only then can he/she prescribe the best antibiotic for you.

When To Take Antibiotics During Pregnancy?

It is always highly recommended by all medical professionals not to take antibiotics at all, but still there are some cases in which the use of antibiotics becomes a necessity.

  • There are some cases where antibiotics
  • Take antibiotics in pregnancy only when there is no other medical alternative for treating the problem you are facing.
  • Ensure that your doctor is well-aware of your complete situation and prescribes an antibiotic which is completely safe to use in pregnancy.
  • Antibiotics in pregnancy should be used at the minimum dosage possible.
  • Try to avoid self-medication in any way during pregnancy.

Which Antibiotics Are Safe To Be Taken During Pregnancy?

Some antibiotics are hazardous in pregnancy and can cause serious irreversible problems in the unborn child. On the positive note, there are certain antibiotics which are declared safe to use in pregnancy upon a usage of minimal dose and these are: penicillin, amoxicillin, clindamycin, ampicillin and erythromycin.

Which Antibiotics Are Contraindicated In Pregnancy?

There are certain antibiotics which are totally fine to use under normal situations, but can prove to be harmful for the health of your baby if taken during pregnancy. These antibiotics can cause serious birth defects and medical problems in the unborn child and should be absolutely avoided during pregnancy. For this reason, it is very important to choose a well-informed doctor who does not prescribe any of the below mentioned antibiotics under any circumstance in pregnancy: doxycycline, tetracycline and minocycline.

These antibiotics can affect your liver and cause permanent defects in your unborn child and should be avoided in pregnancy.

Apart from these, there are two classes of antibiotics which are used to treat urinary tract related infections during pregnancy, but they are also known for causing irreversible damages to your unborn baby’s health. These contraindicated antibiotics in pregnancy are: nitrofuran derivatives and sulfonamides.

Points To Be Kept In Mind:

  • Never ever self-medicate yourself during pregnancy, especially antibiotics.
  • Take the best care of your health and avoid falling sick during pregnancy. This is a sure shot way of avoiding antibiotics during pregnancy.
  • Try and avoid the company of those people who are suffering from contagious illnesses during your pregnancy.
  • Always keep your guard on and make your health and fitness your primary concern during your pregnancy.
  • Update your doctor with all your medical history and allergies, so that he/she can choose what the best treatment for you is. In any case if you are put on antibiotics, a well-informed doctor will prescribe the least hazardous one for you in your pregnancy.
  • Don’t overdose the antibiotics or any other medicine in hopes of fighting your illness faster during your pregnancy. This does not speed up the action of antibiotics and just creates more issues in your pregnancy.


  1. American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Antibiotics and Pregnancy: What’s Safe? https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/antibiotics-during-pregnancy-10589/
  2. Healthline Parenthood. (2020). Antibiotics During Pregnancy: Is It Safe? https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/antibiotics-safe-during-pregnancy#safe-antibiotics

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 28, 2023

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