Pregnancy health

Is Amoxicillin Safe for Pregnant People?

Everything you need to know about taking amoxicillin during pregnancy, explained by experts.

Is Amoxicillin Safe for Pregnant People?

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Being pregnant is a beautiful time, but it can also pose challenges—especially when you don't feel well. Many pregnancy symptoms, such as a runny nose or general fatigue, may mimic larger health issues. However, in some cases, you might have a bacterial infection, for which your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic like amoxicillin.

But is amoxicillin safe for pregnant people? Could it potentially harm your baby? Before you head to the pharmacy, here's what you need to know, according to medical professionals.

Is amoxicillin safe for pregnant people?

Generally, amoxicillin is considered safe for pregnant women (unless they have an allergy to this type of medication) and unlikely to cause fetal harm. The FDA classes amoxicillin as a "pregnancy category B" medication. This means that amoxicillin did not harm the fetus in animal studies but that there are no high-quality human studies in pregnant women.

If you get a bacterial infection during pregnancy, your doctor may prescribe amoxicillin to treat it. “Amoxicillin is one of the most commonly prescribed antibiotics used to treat ear infections, urinary tract infections, bacterial infections such as sinus infections, and skin infections,” says Ersilia Pompilio RN, MSN, PNP.

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While you might be hesitant to take antibiotics during pregnancy, Staci L McHale, MD, FACOG, owner of New Beginnings OB-GYN in Las Vegas, Nevada, suggests the risks are low. “Amoxicillin is one of the safest antibiotics that can be used in pregnancy or breastfeeding. Extensive research has shown amoxicillin has very little risk to an unborn baby and can safely be used to treat infections for the mother during pregnancy if needed.”

If you're experiencing side effects from amoxicillin, like severe vomiting and diarrhea, make sure to contact your doctor. They may stop the medication or switch you to a different antibiotic. Contact your doctor right away if you experience serious side effects like an allergic reaction, seizures, unusual bleeding, or yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Can amoxicillin affect baby while pregnant?


Taking drugs, even when they are prescribed by your doctor, can feel scary during pregnancy. But Pompilio advises the risk to your baby is very low. “Amoxicillin is considered a low-risk drug and can be taken at any trimester. There is no reported evidence that shows amoxicillin can cause harm to an unborn baby while the mother is taking amoxicillin.”

If you're unsure if a medication you’re taking could affect your baby, whether prescribed or over the counter, it’s best to consult your OBGYN or primary care physician to ensure it is safe.

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What antibiotics can you take while pregnant?

If the amoxicillin doesn't clear up your infection, your doctor may prescribe another antibiotic. Pompilio explains that cephalosporins, clindamycin, erythromycin, and penicillin are other antibiotics generally considered safe to take while pregnant.

However, not all antibiotics are safe for pregnant women – some can harm the fetus and cause birth defects like a cleft palate. “Certain antibiotics like tetracyclines, quinolones, metrondiazole, sulfonomides, and macrolides can potentially cause birth defects in a baby, especially after 15 weeks of pregnancy.”

It’s crucial to communicate with your doctor here. Make sure the prescribing physician knows what trimester of pregnancy you are in. This way, they can treat your illness without potentially impacting the baby.

Can a woman get pregnant while taking amoxicillin?


Yes, amoxicillin shouldn't affect a woman's ability to become pregnant. Pompilio advises, “Various studies show that certain antibiotics can interfere with drugs that regulate your hormones and birth control pills. There is no evidence that shows amoxicillin can interfere with the fertility process, conception, or menstrual cycles.”

However, if you’re trying to conceive, your male partner should avoid taking certain antibiotics that can interfere with conception. “There is evidence that shows that male fertility and sperm can be negatively impacted by penicillin, tetracycline, and erythromycin,” explains Nurse Pompilio.

If this is the case, it may be wise for your partner to ask their doctor to prescribe something else.

pregnant woman talking to her doctor iStock


What is amoxicillin?

According to the National Library Of Medicine, “Amoxicillin is [a] used to treat certain infections caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia; bronchitis (infection of the airway tubes leading to the lungs); and infections of the ears, nose, throat, urinary tract, and skin. Amoxicillin is in a class of medications called penicillin-like antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.”

Is amoxicillin safe for breastfeeding moms?

Yes, amoxicillin is generally safe for breastfeeding moms. Dr McHale explains, “During breastfeeding, a very low amount of amoxicillin is secreted into the breastmilk, which should have minimal effects for the infant. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the use of amoxicillin during breastfeeding when it is needed to treat an infection. It is always a good idea to inform your pediatrician of any medications you are taking while breastfeeding.”

Is it okay to take your old, leftover amoxicillin?


No, you should not use old, leftover antibiotics. “If for some reason you have leftover antibiotics from a previous infection (which you shouldn't, that just means you likely forgot to take some doses) or your partner or family member has some, always consult your doctor before taking them. This is even more important if you're pregnant,” advises Pompilio. Experts

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