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Risk of Miscarriage Linked to Antibiotic Use

For most women, the news of pregnancy is exciting, uplifting, and invigorating. However, no matter how healthy a woman is, the risk of miscarriage may be as equally threatening – about 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

In order to avoid miscarriage, many women take certain precautions, such as keeping weight in check and avoiding smoking. However, one thing that most women never think of, but that has been recently linked to miscarriage risk, is the use of antibiotics.

Use of Certain Antibiotics Increases Risk of Miscarriage

According to a new study authored by Professor Anick Berard of the University of Montreal’s Faculty of Pharmacy, and summarized by, certain antibiotics have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage. Antibiotics that, according to the study, increase the risk of miscarriage before 20 weeks of gestation, include:

  • Macrolides;
  • Quinolones;
  • Tetracyclines;
  • Sulfonamides; and
  • Metronidazole.

According to reports, the study does not show cause and effect – i.e. taking the above does not necessarily cause a miscarriage. However, for some groups of antibiotics, the risk of miscarriage doubled when the drugs were used during pregnancy. The study found that about 16 percent of women who had miscarried were exposed to antibiotics during the early weeks of pregnancy, compared to less than 13 percent of the controls.

One of the biggest surprises to the researchers was the number of women who were using antibiotics in pregnancy.

Should I Avoid Antibiotics if I’m Pregnant?

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, most commonly urinary tract infections (during pregnancy). Bacterial infections, when untreated, have the potential to be dangerous to both mother and developing fetus in certain cases. Therefore, the choice to take – or to not take – antibiotics is completely individual and personal, and should be discussed in depth with your doctor. However, regardless of which decision you make, it is critical that your doctor inform you of the consequences of each.

Remember, this study does not show causation, and it is impossible to know what genetic factors that the women involved in the study had that could have caused their miscarriages.

It should also be noted that while the evidence regarding the link between miscarriage and antibiotics may be inconclusive, there are a number of antibiotics that are not recommended during pregnancy for myriad other reasons, such as permanent discoloration of babies’ teeth, and effects on fetal bone growth. Again, you should discuss all risks with your doctor before taking any medications.

Call Our Law Firm for Answers to Your Legal Questions

If you have miscarried, or given birth to a child with health complications, and you believe that a dangerous drug is to blame, we may be able to help. At the offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced defective pharmaceutical lawyers in Philadelphia will meet with you free of charge, and if we think you have a case, we will aggressively represent you. Contact us today.

Contact us for your consultation (215) 567-3500

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