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A new study has found that when a mother-to-be takes certain antibiotics when pregnant, it can lead to an increased risk of birth defects.

The study, published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, used data from 139,938 mothers of babies born in Canada between 1998 and 2008.

The researchers looked at the use of antibiotics by the pregnant women during their first trimester, and the resulting birth defects of their babies in the first year of their life.

The results found that women who had taken antibiotics from the group known as quinolones were at the highest risk of having babies with birth defects.

Anick Bérard, professor of epidemiology at the University of Montreal, told The New York Times: “Infection itself is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, and they must be treated. Our study shows that we must think about which antibiotics to use.”

The research found that once they adjusted the variables that might increase the risk of birth defects, for example, infections where antibiotics are prescribed, high blood pressure, high blood pressure and many more, the risk posed by certain drugs was very high.

One example in the report is the use of the antibiotic doxycycline. Researchers found that mothers who used this during pregnancy more than doubled the risk of cardiac abnormalities in their babies.

Another example found the use of clindamycin increased the risk of musculoskeletal problems by 67 per cent in babies.

Birth defects were also linked with moxifloxacin, ofloxacin, erythromycin and penicillin V. However, no birth defects were linked with the use of amoxicillin, nitrofurantoin and cephalosporins.

“This research is really important, and highlights to mums-to-be that they need to ensure that their GP prescribes only the correct and safe antibiotics to them during their pregnancy, should they need them. It may be that there are parents out there who are now questioning whether their child’s birth defects or injuries could have been avoided. At Pryers we have hugely experienced legal experts to help you get the answers you need”, Richard Starkie, Partner at Pryers Solictors.

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