Expectant mothers beware! A new study from the University of Montreal may have discovered that using antibiotics during pregnancy may lead to miscarriage. The study, recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, theorized that miscarriages before the 20th week of pregnancy might have been connected to certain types of antibiotics including macrolides, metronidazolem, quinolones, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines. Penicillin and miscarriage did not seem to be linked.
Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion or pregnancy loss, is defined as the natural death of an embryo or fetus before it can survive on its own. According to some healthcare professionals, after the 20th week of pregnancy, if a miscarriage occurs would be referred as a stillbirth. The most common symptoms of miscarriage include vaginal bleeding that may include pain and tissue, or clot-like material may come out of the vagina. After a miscarriage occurs sadness, guilt and anxiety usually happen. Risk factors for miscarriage include age, previous miscarriages, tobacco smoke exposure, obesity, diabetes, or drug and alcohol use.
The researchers, led by Anick Bérard, a member of the Faculty of Pharmacy with the University of Montreal, conducted the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort between January 1998 to December 2009. They did not include planned abortions and pregnancies that were exposed to fetotoxic drugs. The women involved in the study were 15 years old to 45 years old. Antibiotic use between the “first day of gestation and the index date were examined. During early pregnancy, if certain antibiotics were used, the “risk of spontaneous abortion” occurred, according to the researchers in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
CNN reported that Dr. Bérard found nearly 9,000 cases of miscarriages that occurred “on average at 14 weeks of pregnancy.” This number was compared to the nearly 90,000 pregnancies where miscarriage did not occur. Among the women who did suffer a miscarriage, 16 percent took an antibiotic in early pregnancy. This number was compared to the 12 percent of women did not. Bérard went on to say that the study examined “antibiotics during early pregnancy only.” Dr. Bérard stated to Science Daily that “infections are prevalent during pregnancy.” While most antibiotics have been linked to a “decreased risk of prematurity and low birth weight” there are certain types of antibiotics increased miscarriage.
Dr. Bérard’s study took into account the pregnant women who were “likely to be older, living alone, and to have multiple health issues and infections,” according to Science Daily. Science Daily reported that the researchers hope that their study results would help to shape “guidelines for the treatment of infections during pregnancy” for policy-makers.
By Cheryl Werber