If you're pregnant, you will probably be offered an antibiotic as part of routine 'just-in-case' procedure. And, if you are, you're advised to refuse the drug, according to a new study.
Antibiotics are routinely given in order to reduce the possibility of premature labour and to fight any possible infection.
But researchers who followed-up seven years later on mothers who had routine antibiotic while pregnant discovered their children were more likely to suffer some sight or hearing impairment, or had cerebral palsy.
Researchers from the University of Leicester tracked 4,221 women who had been given either erythromycin or amoxicillin while pregnant, or had been given a placebo. In all, the researchers were able to take a health assessment of 3,196 children. Of these, 658 children hose mothers had been given an antibiotic suffered some functional impairment compared with 574 children whose mothers were in the placebo group.
In light of these findings, doctors in the UK have been advised to stop the practice other than for cases where antibiotics are genuinely needed.
(Source: The Lancet, 2008; DOI: 10.1016/SO140-6736 (08) 61203-9).