Antibiotic Use by Pregnant Women Should be Minimized

The use of antibiotics by pregnant women should be kept to a minimum. The researchers warn that infants born to women who received prenatal antibiotics may be difficult to treat if they develop sepsis, a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection that is treated with intravenous antibiotics. The researchers analyzed the medical records of 8,593 infants delivered at six hospitals in the metropolitan Memphis area.

Overall, 96 infants developed sepsis. In these babies, 45% of the disease-causing organisms were resistant to ampicillin, an antibiotic that normally kills a broad range of bacteria. Ampicillin resistance was significantly more common in infants whose mothers received antibiotics prenatally than in those whose mothers did not.

The study team reports that they identified several instances in which the frequency of prenatal antibiotic use could be reduced. About 5% of the mothers received antibiotics for respiratory infections that were viral in nature, not bacterial. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics.

The researchers also note that some doctors routinely screen pregnant women for vaginal infections and, if necessary, treat them with antibiotics to reduce the chance that they will transmit infection to the infant. They say that there is conflicting evidence regarding the benefit of such practice.

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology October 1999;181:816-821

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

We don't have to be rocket scientists to recognize that there is a profound abuse of antibiotics in all areas of medicine. They are potentially very dangerous and one needs to be highly cautious of using them. One would benefit from exhausting all conservative measures and restrict their use to high-risk settings to avoid the down side of their use.

I would also strongly advise to use large doses of beneficial bacteria with them. Many people do not take them while they are on antibiotics as they believe the antibiotic will kill the good bacteria. Well they are right, it will kill the beneficial bacteria but that is the most important time to take them. It will help to minimize the damage that these drugs do.

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