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Antibiotics for Pregnant Women with Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria and can be transmitted through oral, anal and vaginal sexual contact. Men and women can both be affected by Chlamydia, but symptoms of the infection are not always present. In fact, up to 75% of women and 50% of men experience no symptoms of Chlamydia.


However, long-term complications can develop if left untreated. Left untreated, Chlamydia in women can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which in turn can cause infertility and damage to the reproductive organs. Untreated Chlamydia in men can cause epididymitis, which can lead to sterility. While it is possible to cure Chlamydia through antibiotics, this treatment cannot undo any damage that may have already occurred in your reproductive organs. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as you suspect you may have Chlamydia.


Pregnant women with untreated chlamydia infections are at high risk for pregnancy and labor complications, as well as transmitting eye infections and pneumonia to newborn babies.


A review found eleven trials, involving 1449 women, on erythromycin, amoxycillin, azithromycin and clindamycin, and the overall trial quality was good. However, all the trials assessed 'microbiological cure' (that is they looked for an eradication of the infection) and none assessed whether the eye or lung problems for the baby were reduced. Also, none of the trials were large enough to assess potential adverse outcomes adequately. The review found amoxycillin was an effective alternative to erythromycin but lack of long-term assessment of outcomes caused concern about its routine use in practice. If erythromycin is used, some women may stop taking it because of adverse effects. Azithromycin and clindamycin are potential alternatives.


Pregnant women with chlamydia are commonly treated with amoxicillin or erythromycin. These are not the only antibiotics prescribed, but they are the most commonly prescribed medications for treatment of chlamydia in pregnant women. Tetracyclines taken in pregnancy are known to be associated with teeth and bone abnormalities in babies, and some women find erythromycin unpleasant to take because of feeling sick and vomiting.


- Take all prescribed medication as directed until gone, even if your symptoms disappear. Notify your doctor if you began to feel worse or develop new symptoms after taking medication. This can be an indication of possible side effects.
- Contact your physician if the symptoms do not disappear within 2 weeks of completing your prescription.

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