Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy And Birth Defects: Study Examines Associations

Date:
November 3, 2009
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Penicillin and several other antibacterial medications commonly taken by pregnant women do not appear to be associated with many birth defects, according to a new report. However, other antibiotics, such as sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins, may be associated with several severe birth defects and require additional scrutiny.

Although penicillin and several other antibacterial medications commonly taken by pregnant women do not appear to be associated with many birth defects, other antibiotics, such as sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins, may be associated with several severe birth defects and require additional scrutiny, a new study has found.
Credit: iStockphoto/Pascal Genest

Penicillin and several other antibacterial medications commonly taken by pregnant women do not appear to be associated with many birth defects, according to a report in the November issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. However, other antibiotics, such as sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins, may be associated with several severe birth defects and require additional scrutiny.

Treating infections is critical to the health of a mother and her baby, according to background information in the article. Therefore, bacteria-fighting medications are among the most commonly used drugs during pregnancy. Although some classes of antibiotics appear to have been used safely during pregnancy, no large-scale studies have examined safety or risks involved with many classes of antibacterial medications.

Krista S. Crider, Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 13,155 women whose pregnancies were affected by one of more than 30 birth defects (cases). The information was collected by surveillance programs in 10 states as part of the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. The researchers compared antibacterial use before and during pregnancy between these women and 4,941 randomly selected control women who lived in the same geographical regions but whose babies did not have birth defects.

Antibacterial use among all women increased during pregnancy, peaking during the third month. A total of 3,863 mothers of children with birth defects (29.4 percent) and 1,467 control mothers (29.7 percent) used antibacterials sometime between three months before pregnancy and the end of pregnancy.

"Reassuringly, penicillins, erythromycins and cephalosporins, although used commonly by pregnant women, were not associated with many birth defects," the authors write. Two defects were associated with erythromycins (used by 1.5 percent of the mothers whose children had birth defects and 1.6 percent of controls), one with penicillins (used by 5.5 percent of case mothers and 5.9 percent of controls), one with cephalosporins (used by 1 percent of both cases and controls) and one with quinolones (used by 0.3 percent of both cases and controls).

Two medications -- sulfonamides and nitrofurantoins (each used by 1.1 percent of cases and 0.9 percent of controls) -- were associated with several birth defects, suggesting that additional study is needed before they can be safely prescribed to pregnant women.

"Determining the causes of birth defects is problematic," the authors write. "A single defect can have multiple causes, or multiple seemingly unrelated defects may have a common cause. This study could not determine the safety of drugs during pregnancy, but the lack of widespread increased risk associated with many classes of antibacterials used during pregnancy should be reassuring."

The National Birth Defects Prevention Study is funded by a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Krista S. Crider; Mario A. Cleves; Jennita Reefhuis; Robert J. Berry; Charlotte A. Hobbs; Dale J. Hu. Antibacterial Medication Use During Pregnancy and Risk of Birth Defects: National Birth Defects Prevention Study. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2009; 163 (11): 978 DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.188

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy And Birth Defects: Study Examines Associations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102171417.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2009, November 3). Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy And Birth Defects: Study Examines Associations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102171417.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Antibiotic Use During Pregnancy And Birth Defects: Study Examines Associations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091102171417.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins