Antibiotic-Free Pregnancy Could Keep Baby Asthma-Free

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ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Jan 2017
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Have asthma? Hoping that your baby won’t? A new study recommends steering clear of antibiotics during pregnancy.

The study, published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, looked at how prenatal antibiotic use affected at-risk children. Children considered “at risk” for asthma included those with a parent who had asthma, hay fever or eczema. And when mom took antibiotics during pregnancy, twice as many babies were diagnosed with asthma by age three — 22 percent compared to 11 percent.

“The more we know about what factors increase the probability of asthma developing, the better we can assist our pregnant patients,” said study co-author Dennis Ownby, MD. “We wouldn’t recommend not giving antibiotics to a pregnant woman, but we recommend caution when symptoms are not clearly caused by a bacterial infection. Pregnant women with asthma should work with their allergist to create a healthy outcome for themselves and their children.”

The problem may be that antibiotic overuse has increased the number of drug-resistant germs. Interestingly, the study was unable to find a correlation between antibiotics during pregnancy and child wheezing.

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