Taking certain types of antibiotics during early pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, according to a new study from Canada.
The study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that certain types of antibiotics such as macrolides, quinolones, tetracyclines, sulfonamides and metronidazole led to a “60% to two-fold” increase in the risk of miscarriage. The study did not find a link between other commonly used antibiotics like penicillin, erythromycin, or nitrofurantoin, which is often used to treat urinary tract infections in pregnant women.
“Infections are prevalent during pregnancy,” according to researcher Anick Bérard, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montréal. “Although antibiotic use to treat infections has been linked to a decreased risk of prematurity and low birth weight in other studies, our investigation shows that certain types of antibiotics are increasing the risk of spontaneous abortion, with a 60% to two-fold increased risk.”
According to the study, women who were older, lived alone and had multiple health issues were more likely to miscarry, which was taken into account in the study.
Bérard said that infections should be treated with antibiotics, but the study highlights the importance of having treatment options. “The bottom line is to treat infections, but our study has shown that some the most used antibiotics like erythromicine and nitrofurantoin are not associated with miscarriage,” she told Global News. “So, yes treat the infection, and we are giving treatment options.”
According Dr. R. Phillip Heine, member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice, it’s “unfortunate” that the study was published in its current form. In an email, Heine wrote that the study’s finding were overstated and that the authors did not provide a good discussion of the limitations of the research.
“One major concern is that many of these antibiotics — tetracycline, doxycycline, a type of tetracycline) and the quinolones — are not used in known pregnancies. This implies that the pregnancies were early and were missed by the prescribing clinician,”
The take-home message is when you are pregnant make sure your doctor chooses the antibiotic carefully being mindful of this study.