Amoxicillin in pregnancy

Amoxicillin belongs to a group of antibiotics called penicillins. Penicillins are used to treat a wide range of infections: they are also commonly prescribed during pregnancy.

Is amoxicillin safe in pregnancy?

Numerous studies conducted on the use of this group of antibiotics in pregnancy have not found any possible risks to the developing baby. Treatments for bacterial infections can be crucial in (any) pregnancy for both the health of the mother and that of the baby.

When deciding whether or not to take amoxicillin, co-amoxiclav (a combined antibiotic used for bacterial infections), or penicillin V (phenoxymethylpenicillin) during pregnancy, it is important to consider how helpful these drugs may be in relation to the risks for the woman and the child, some of which are linked to the weeks of pregnancy. Your doctor is the best person to help you decide what’s best for you and your baby.

What can happen if I have already taken amoxicillin during pregnancy?

Amoxicillin is often used in pregnancy. For this reason, it should not be expected to harm the baby in the womb. However, if you are pregnant and have already been taking any medications, it is always a good idea to let your doctor know to see if you may need any additional monitoring or treatment.

Can taking amoxicillin while pregnant cause the baby to be born with defects?

A baby’s body and most of its internal organs are formed during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Some medications are known to cause birth defects in the baby mainly when taken during this period.

However, large studies of women who used amoxicillin in early pregnancy do not suggest an increased chance of their babies having birth defects.

The Co-amoxiclav / Co-Amoxiclav studies also yielded reassuring results, but these were based on fewer women, so more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Can taking amoxicillin while pregnant cause miscarriage or stillbirth?

In many studies conducted on women who took amoxicillin during pregnancy, an increased chance of miscarriages or stillbirths, i.e. a statistical amount of stillbirths, was not observed.

Can taking amoxicillin while pregnant cause preterm birth or will the baby be small (low birth weight) at birth?

Studies conducted to date have not shown an increased chance of preterm delivery or low birth weight for babies born to mothers taking Co-amoxiclav.

One small study found an increased chance of preterm birth and low birth weight for babies exposed to amoxicillin in utero, but other larger and more reliable studies have not agreed with these results.

Can taking amoxicillin while pregnant cause learning problems or behavioral problems in the child?

A fetus’s brain continues to develop until the end of pregnancy. It is therefore possible that taking certain medicines at any stage could have a lasting effect on a child’s learning or behaviour.

No study has had the opportunity to examine the learning and behaviors of children born to mothers who had taken amoxicillin during pregnancy. Therefore, there is a need for research into the effects of preterm birth which also investigates the learning and behaviors of children who have been exposed in utero to amoxicillin and penicillin V.

Who can I speak to if I have any questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns about the information in this article, talk to your doctor.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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