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Erythromycin in first trimester - worried!

(8 Posts)
QueenMolotov Thu 18-Feb-16 12:21:19

I'm 8w pg and have a chest infection. I'm 33yo, allergic to penicillin, have asthma and have had pneumonia twice in my life (last time was last June (hospital admission and 14 days of strong antibiotics to clear it).

Doctor could hear a "crackle" in the upper parts of my lungs and said it didn't sound as clear as he'd like in the lower part, so prescribed me 250mg erythromycin x4 a day for five days. He checked that it was safe to take in pg and the screen read 'no known effects on the baby'.

I Googled it and there seems to be suggestions from a few studies that erythromycin might not be safe to take in the first tri (slight increase in risk for epilepsy, heart defects, cerebral palsy sad). So, I phoned the hospital where I'm booked in and spoke to a Dr there, who said that erythromycin is fine, the best alternative to penicillin to treat a chest infection and that the infection should be treated.

I looked at the patient information leaflet and that too said to use with caution when pg or breastfeeding, as it 'could harm the baby'.

As I've spoken with two doctors, I have started to take the antibiotics, but I'm so worried. Does anyone have experience of taking erythromycin in the first trimester and everything being okay?

whiteychappers Thu 18-Feb-16 12:35:54

I haven't any experience of that particular drug but you need to weigh up the risk of you being really poorly if you don't take it. A doctor wouldn't prescribe it if they didn't think you needed it. Reality is everything can harm you, its just weighing up risk of which is worse.

DinoSnores Thu 18-Feb-16 12:43:54

Nothing is tested in pregnant women for good reasons, so all the patient information leaflets will say to use with caution in pregnancy.

It is thought to be safe in pregnancy:


Untreated pneumonia is certainly not safe in pregnancy and can be associated with problems for mother and baby. You are doing the right thing by taking it.

The 'risk' is very likely overstated and was reported in an irresponsible, sensational manner designed to get headlines. There's a good breakdown of the study here:


Stay away from Google and get well soon! smile flowers

chestnut20 Thu 18-Feb-16 14:38:24

Have no experience with Erythromycin and pregnancy, so can't help you with this I'm afraid. But I am also severely allergic to Penicillin and was prescribed Erythromycin as an alternative, when not pregnant, and found I was also allergic to this (1st 2 tablets made me nauseous and generally unwell) I found out from my Dr that it is common if allergic to Penicillin to also be allergic to Erythromycin. Just thought I would let you know in case you feel more nauseous etc than normal, it might not be normal pregnancy symptoms. Wishing you all the best.

DinoSnores Thu 18-Feb-16 16:34:35

Nausea (and a bit of a wonky tummy) with erythromycin is, unfortunately, a fairly common side effect and doesn't mean an allergy normally.

A more usual allergic reaction would involve a rash, breathing problems, or swollen lips/tongue/mouth.

Sophiadiaz Thu 18-Feb-16 17:05:42

Im allergic to both they give me doxycycline. I was 10 weeks pregnant when I had the allergic reaction to the one you're on and all was ok in the end

QueenMolotov Thu 18-Feb-16 18:24:55

Thanks everyone for replying and especially to Dino - THANK-YOU for that really useful link, which contextualises those studies. Reading that has really helped to allay my fears smile

Right, time to stay away from Dr. Google, listen to my qualified doctors, rest and get well!

Cathysaf Thu 13-Oct-16 12:02:00

I have ear infection I was giving amoxicillin which didn't clear it and then erythromycin 500mg to takke 4 times a day for 5 days when I was 22 weeks pregnant I checked with the pharmacist and they said it should be fine. So I took it and it did make me feel a little sick and well but it did taken.care of my ear infection. But I ve have been so very worried as terrified it might of affected the baby's development in some way. I hate taking anything when pregnant and feek.very paranoid about it. and wish hadn't a ear infection. Doctor said everything was developed at 22 weeks but I still dont feel any better.

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