Antibiotics and your baby
Intrapartum antibiotics affect infant gut bacteria balance in caesarean and vaginal delivery.
Antibiotics fight infection. They either kill bacteria or prevent them from reproducing and growing. Antibiotics can save lives and improve the health outcomes of both mothers and babies. However, antibiotics in labour can have negative effects. It’s recommended you speak with your health professional and weigh up the pros and cons carefully considering your individual situation.
Several factors can increase the risk of infection in term newborn babies, prompting the need for antibiotics in labour. These include the presence of bacteria in the vagina, including group B streptococcus (24), if your waters break more than 24 hours before your baby is born or high temperatures in the mother during labour. Under these circumstances, we recommend intravenous antibiotics (antibiotics into your vein, or IVAB’s) in labour for the safety of you and your baby.
In a Canadian cohort, 21% of mothers received IV antibiotics for Group B Strep or pre-labour rupture of membranes. Another 23% received them for elective or emergency caesarean section (CS).
The babies microbiomes were very different at 3 months of age. These differences were still present at one year of age in babies born by emergency caesarean section.
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What can you do?
Dr Janelle McAlpine (PhD), Clinical Midwife
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