Is constant cold and flu troubling you during pregnancy? Are you thinking of popping some good ol’ penicillin for relief? If you said yes, you should consider reading our post before you decide whether penicillin is safe to use during gestation.
Doctors usually tell expectant mothers to avoid all kinds of medicines during pregnancy, at least during the first three months. But when the flu strikes, only antibiotics can help; not treating your illness could be riskier than exposing your developing baby to an antibiotic.
Penicillin is one of the most popular antibiotics to treat the flu and infection. But is penicillin safe during pregnancy? Will it affect the unborn baby in any way? To find answers to these questions, continue reading our post.
What Is Penicillin?
Penicillin is a group of antibiotics that include penicillin V, penicillin G, benzathine penicillin and procaine penicillin. These antibiotics come from the Penicillium fungi. The Penicillin group of antibiotics was one of the first medications to fight the infections that occur due to the streptococci and staphylococci. These antibiotics are still widely in use, but many types of bacteria develop resistance following extensive use.
[ Read: Safe Antibiotics During Pregnancy ]
Types Of Penicillin
There are several kinds of penicillin for different types of infections. Doctors often give penicillin with antibacterial medicines. But you must not use one type of penicillin in place of another.
How Does Penicillin Work?
Our body’s natural defense system is strong enough to ravage harmful bacteria. The white blood cells in the body attack the bacteria before they can multiply. If a symptom occurs, the immune system fights the bacterial infection itself. But sometimes, it becomes too much for the body to take. It is here where antibiotics help.
Even then, the bacteria continuously build cell walls to protect themselves and uphold the structure. Penicillin damages and penetrates through the cell walls, killing the bacteria. But bacteria are also stubborn. They can also construct a resistance to penicillin by β-lactamase. β-lactamase protects the bacterial walls by ravaging the β-lactam ring. You can counteract the effect by combining penicillin with the β-lactamase inhibitors.
Uses Of Penicillin
Penicillin helps treat different types of infection caused by bacteria. It was one of the first medicines to treat syphilis and doctors still use it in modern day medicine. There are three chief uses of penicillin:
- To fight the bacterial infections like tonsillitis.
- To prevent bacterial infection in people with a weak immune due to a certain illness.
- It is useful for people with sickle diseases.
- To boost people’s immunity and reduce the risk of infection.
Is It Safe To Take Penicillin While Pregnant?
Yes! It is safe to take penicillin while pregnant. Penicillin falls in the pregnancy category B. The medicine has been around for a long time and shows no adverse effect on pregnant women. Doctors usually prescribe penicillin to treat strep throat or a UTI.
Things To Consider Before Consuming Penicillin During Pregnancy
1. Allergies To Penicillin:
The most common problem associated with penicillin is an allergic reaction. Do not use penicillin if you’ve had an allergic reaction due to penicillin V or any other penicillin antibiotics like ampicillin, dicloxacillin or oxacillin. And tell your physician if you are allergic to cephalosporins like Ceftin, Duricef, Ceclor, and Keflex.
2. A History Of Allergies:
If you are susceptible to allergies, then avoid taking penicillin. There is a high risk of going into anaphylactic shock if people susceptible to allergies take penicillin.
3. If You Are Suffering From Certain Diseases:
If you have a kidney disease, bleeding or blood clotting disorder, asthma or a history of diarrhea due to antibiotics then let your doctor know. Patients suffering from bleeding problems are more likely to bleed when they take penicillin.
Penicillin does not cause a yeast infection, but it can kill the healthy bacteria in the vagina that stop yeast infection from developing. If you notice signs of yeast like odor, itching or vaginal irritation, then contact your obstetrician right away. Antibiotics like penicillin can cause diarrhea, which may be a sign of another infection. If you have bloody stool, then contact your doctor immediately. Do not use any other medication to stop diarrhea, unless your doctor your gynecologist has told you. Penicillin poses no threat to the unborn baby. But, it can pass into the breast milk harming the nursing baby.
[ Read: Symptoms Of Diarrhea During Pregnancy ]
Side Effects Of Penicillin During Pregnancy
Side effects of penicillin are rare during pregnancy, but you should not rule out the possibility. Contact your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue, or throat
- Fever, chills
- Severe skin rash
- Stomach pain, nausea or vomiting
- Vaginal discharge or itching
- Black tongue
[ Read: Tips To Reduce Swelling During Pregnancy ]
Dosage Of Penicillin While Pregnant
The dosage of penicillin medication is different for different patients. You must take the same amount of penicillin that your doctor prescribes. If you don’t complete the course, the chances of bacteria to become resistant to future therapies increase. The bacteria that are left over from an incomplete course of treatment build up resilience to the drug.
Do not think of taking the medicines in large amounts, or longer than recommended by your doctor. Possibilities are that your symptoms may get better before the infection is completely treated. It does not mean that the infection has been cured. Penicillin does not treat a viral infection like the flu or a cold. It just treats the symptoms.
If you miss a dose, then take it as soon as you can. If it’s almost time, then skip the missed dose and take the next dose at your scheduled time. If you’ve missed more than a dose, then we would advise you to contact your gynecologist for guidance on how to proceed further.
In case of overdose, seek immediate medical attention. Some overdose symptoms include a severe skin rash, behavior changes, confusion, seizure or urinating less than usual. Check with your gynecologist if the condition does not improve within a few days or becomes worse.
Do you have something to share about penicillin during pregnancy? Then kindly leave a comment below.
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