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Antibiotic Birth Defects

Antibiotic birth defects are structural, functional, or metabolic abnormalities that occur in newborn babies as a result of exposure to certain antibiotic medications. There are a number of teratogens or external drugs and chemicals, which are known to cause serious birth defects in an embryo or fetus.

Antibiotics To Avoid During Pregnancy

Reports have found that taking certain antibiotic medications to treat infections during the first, second, or third trimesters of pregnancy increases the risk of serious antibiotic birth defects in babies. While antibiotics such as penicillins (amoxicillin and ampicillin), cephalosporins (cephalexin), and erythromycin are considered to be relatively safe to use during pregnancy, a number of antibiotics are known or suspected to cause serious antibiotic birth defects:

  • Tetracycline - Includes minocycline, oxytetracyclin, and doxycycline, which are used to treat respiratory infections and acne. Taking tetracycline or similar antibiotics in the second or third trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of antibiotic birth defects, which affects the hard tissue formation during fetal development potentially causing discoloration and calcification of a baby's teeth, reduced bone growth, and increased susceptibility to cavities.
  • Trimethropim - Includes Bactrim and Septra used to treat maternal urinary tract infections. These drugs block folic acid during pregnancy, which is essential for reducing the risks of neural tube birth defects and other antibiotic birth defects in newborns.
  • Sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) - These antibiotics increase the risks of jaundice and brain damage in a child, especially when taken in the third trimester of pregnancy. Additional risks of antibiotic birth defects may occur in women or fetuses with G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency.
  • Streptomycin - Used to treat tuberculosis and similar infections and can cause fetal ear damage, which may result in deafness.
  • Nitrofurantoin - Used in the treatment of urinary tract infections and can cause the breakdown of red blood cells in pregnant women or fetuses with a G6PD deficiency, potentially resulting in serious antibiotic birth defects.
  • Kanamycin - Used to treat certain infections and may increase the risks of fetal ear damage and deafness.
  • Chloramphenicol - Used to treat eye infections and may cause Gray baby syndrome, a possibly fatal condition.
  • Ciprofloxacin - Used to treat certain bacterial infections and has been proven to cause joint abnormalities in animals.
  • Metronidazole - While no definite association has been established between metronidazole and antibiotic birth defects, some experts believe this drug increases the risk of abnormalities.

It is important that pregnant women avoid taking certain drugs and antibiotics to reduce the risk of antibiotic birth defects. Speak with your health care professional before starting or terminating any medication, and learn about what you can to do prevent birth defects.

Legal Help For Children With Antibiotic Birth Defects

If your child developed an antibiotic birth defect that you suspect was a drug related birth defect, you may be eligible to pursue a legal claim. Please contact us today to speak with a birth defect attorney who can explain your legal rights and help determine if you are entitled to compensation for your child's birth defects.

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