(Natural News) The first trimester of pregnancy is a delicate time, and everything you expose your unborn child to could set the tone for their health and well-being throughout their entire lifetime. That’s why it pays to be especially vigilant about the toxins in your body as well as your environment when you’re expecting – particularly in the early months as your baby’s organs are developing.
While many pregnant women are pretty conscientious about following their doctor’s advice, there is one time when you might want to proceed with caution, and that is when your health care provider prescribes you antibiotics.
In a newly published study, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warned pregnant women that antibiotics can harm developing babies after finding that doctors are prescribing the problematic drugs at higher rates than in the past.
Many pregnant women experience urinary tract infections, particularly during the first trimester, and two of the antibiotics that are commonly prescribed for this issue can raise a developing baby’s risk of facial, heart and brain birth defects. According to estimates by the CDC, more than 40 percent of the pregnant women who come down with a UTI are inexplicably given one of these two dangerous medications.
They reached their finding after analyzing prescription data from private insurance firms over the course of two years leading up to 2015. They found that seven percent of the nearly half a million pregnant women studied developed UTIs. Women’s bladders expand as their bodies get ready to carry their child, and some types of bacteria there grow more than they do under normal circumstances, raising the risk of bladder infection. Symptoms include frequent urination and a burning sensation.
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In addition to the women who come down with UTIs, many others have bacteria in their urine without experiencing UTI symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic bacteriuria, and it can lead to infections down the line. When left untreated, it can lead to low birth weight, premature birth, or even newborn death.
Most of the women studied were prescribed antibiotics, with more than four in ten being given nitrofurantoin (Macrobid) or sulfonamides (such as Bactrim) by their doctor. This is despite a warning that was issued in 2011 by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists against giving pregnant women the meds after research linked them to major birth defects like cleft palate, cleft lip, heart defects, and brain malformations.
Prescriptions increased despite warning against giving these drugs to pregnant women
Comparing the prescription rate to a similar study that was carried out between 2002 and 2011, it appears that doctors are giving women these dangerous antibiotics more often than they did before the warning was issued. This could well be playing a role in the 120,000 babies born with birth defects in the country each year.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says that health care providers should only give pregnant women these drugs if no other treatments are available, which is something they say is rarely true. The CDC warned doctors to keep in mind the fact that they could be “treating for two” in prescribing antibiotics for UTIs to women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Many doctors might not be aware of the guidelines, with experts saying that few doctors can stay on top of the vast amount of medical literature that is constantly being published. Even those who are aware of the problem and avoid prescribing the medications to pregnant women might not be proactive in giving women who do not believe they are pregnant the necessary tests to ensure that is the case before prescribing these drugs.