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Study Finds that Giving Antibiotics to Pregnant Women May Increase Babies’ Risk of Cerebral Palsy

A UK study found that prescribing antibiotics to women at risk of giving premature birth could increase the threat of their babies developing functional impairments and Cerebral Palsy. The study was aimed at testing whether the antibiotics erythromycin and co-amoxiclav would delay premature birth but a follow-up study instead revealed that the children of the women receiving the drugs had developed impairments at an increased rate. Specifically, children of women given erythromycin were found to be 18% more likely to suffer functional impairment and when women were prescribed both antibiotics their children’s risk of Cerebral Palsy nearly tripled, with 4.4% of their babies developing the impairment compared to 1.6% for mothers who were not prescribed the antibiotics.

Experts caution, however, that women with signs of infection should not feel reluctant to receive antibiotics because infections can represent serious risks and they point out that, in the study, the drugs were issued to women with no signs of infection.

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