Medications for Infection in Pregnancy
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The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included, so ask your healthcare provider if you need to take any special precautions. Use each of these medications as recommended by your healthcare provider, or according to the instructions provided. If you have further questions about usage or side effects, contact your healthcare provider.
Antibiotics treat infections caused by bacteria. Infections caused by bacteria include:
- ]]>Bacterial vaginosis]]>
- ]]>Group B streptococcus (GBS)]]>
- ]]>Urinary tract infections (UTIs)]]>
- STDs such as ]]>chlamydia]]> , ]]>syphilis]]> , and ]]>gonorrhea]]>
Antibiotics kill the bacteria that cause the infection. The infection may reoccur after using the antibiotics. If this happens, a repeat course of antibiotics may be necessary. Some people may continue to develop symptoms and complications of the infection even after the bacteria are killed.
Below are examples of antibiotics used to treat infections in pregnancy.
- Amoxicillin (Amoxil, Polymox, Trimox, Wymox) —This is a type of penicillin antibiotic. It comes as a capsule, a tablet, a chewable tablet, and a suspension (liquid). It is usually taken every 12 hours (twice a day) or every eight hours (three times a day) with or without food.
- Clindamycin (Cleocin) —The capsule form of clindamycin should be taken with a full glass (8 ounces) of water or with meals. If you are taking the liquid form of clindamycin, use a specially marked measuring spoon to measure each dose correctly. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
- Keflex (Cephalexin), Ceclor (Cefaclor), Duricef (Cefadroxil) —These are cephalosporin antibiotics. They may be taken on a full or empty stomach. If this medicine upsets your stomach, it may help to take it with food. The capsules and tablets should be swallowed whole and taken with a full glass of water.
- Erythromycin (Erythro, Erythrocin, Ilosone) —This drug is usually taken with food. Erythromycin comes as a capsule, tablet, long-acting capsule, long-acting tablet, chewable tablet, and liquid. It usually is taken every six hours (four times a day) or every eight hours (three times a day) for 7-21 days. Some infections may require a longer time.
Possible side effects of all antibiotics include:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Nausea and vomiting
- Allergic reaction, including skin rash, swelling, and difficulty breathing
- Hypersensitivity to sunlight
If you have been in close contact with someone who has ]]>chickenpox]]> , you may get an injection of a medicine called varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG). When you get VZIG within 72 hours after exposure to chickenpox, it can help prevent chickenpox or make the infection less severe. This treatment is safe for you and your developing baby.
Infection with ]]>herpes]]> virus is treated with acyclovir. This medication can also be used to prevent an outbreak during pregnancy. Women who are infected with HIV should talk to their doctor about which antiviral medications are appropriate.
Whenever you are taking a prescription medication, take the following precautions:
- Take them as directed—not more, not less, not at a different time.
- Do not stop taking them without consulting your healthcare provider.
- Don’t share them with anyone else.
- Know what side effects to expect, and report them to your healthcare provider.
- If you are taking more than one drug, even if it is over-the-counter, be sure to check with a physician or pharmacist about drug interactions.
- Plan ahead for refills so you don’t run out.
Talk with your healthcare provider before using over-the-counter medications to treat an infection. There are some over-the-counter medications that are not safe to use during pregnancy.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is generally safe to use during pregnancy. It may ease symptoms of an infection. Other pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve) and aspirin, should be avoided during pregnancy unless under medical supervision. These medications may increase the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. They may decrease the level of fluid surrounding your developing baby and may cause heart problems in your newborn.
Amoxicillin. Medline Plus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a685001.html . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Bacterial vaginosis during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/bacterialvaginoses.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Cephalosporins (systemic). Medline Plus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202119.html . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Chickenpox (varicella). March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/188_675.asp . Accessed September 2, 2005.
Chorioamnionitis. Cleveland Clinic Foundation website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/3800/3857.asp?index=12309 . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Clindamycin. Medline Plus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202145.html . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/cmv.htm . Accessed September 10, 2005.
Cytomegalovirus Infection in Pregnancy. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/681_1195.asp . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Erythromycin. Medline Plus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a682381.html . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Group B strep: How to protect your baby. MayoClinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=PR00079 . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Group B streptococcal disease (GBS). National Center for Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/groupbstrep_g.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Herpes during pregnancy: What you should know. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/760.xml . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Listeria and pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/listeria.html . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Nielsen GL, Sorensen HT, Larsen H, Pedersen L. Risk of adverse birth outcome and miscarriage in pregnant users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: population based observation study and case-control study. BMJ. 2001;322:266-270.
Parvovirus B19 infection and pregnancy. National Center for Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/respiratory/B19&preg.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Pregnancy. Hepatitis B Foundation website. Available at: http://www.hepb.org/patients/pregnant_women.htm . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Rubella. March of Dimes website. Available at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/188_673.asp . Accessed September 2, 2005.
Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2002. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/1-2002TG.htm#SpecialPopulations . Accessed September 5, 2005.
STDs and pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/STDFact-STDs&Pregnancy.htm#test . Accessed September 5, 2005.
Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/180.xml . Accessed September 13, 2005.
Urinary tract infection during pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/utiduringpreg.html . Accessed September 2, 2005.
Last reviewed June 2007 by ]]>Ganson Purcell Jr., MD, FACOG, FACPE]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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