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Cephalexin is an antibiotic commonly used to treat a number of bacterial infections in the body ranging from chest infection to urinary tract infections (UTIs). The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the drug to be in category B, which means that there may be no risk to the fetus if taken during pregnancy as according to animal tests. As of 2011, there are no controlled studies on Cephalexin in pregnancy for humans, but what is known suggests that there are in fact potential risks.
Drugs labeled as category B typically show no toxicity levels in unborn children nor do they create genetic abnormalities according to animal studies. It must be noted, however, that it is normal for humans and animals to react differently to certain drugs. Although as of 2011 there are no known controlled studies on the affect of Cephalexin in pregnancy, some uncontrolled data suggest there may in fact be a risk associated with Cephalexin.
What research that has been done on Cephalexin taken during pregnancy shows a potential link between the antibiotic and both congenital and cardiovascular defects. One study is said to confirm that the drug passes into the umbilical cord and into the amniotic fluid. Data from the Michigan Medicaid found several cases of congenital defects in the children born to women who used the antibiotic. There were also a few cases of cardiovascular defects as well as one case of cleft palate. It is unknown if these defects were indeed caused by using Cephalexin while pregnant or if the children were predisposed to it due to other factors involving the mother’s health.
Adverse side effects of Cephalexin in pregnancy may also be a concern. Symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea may cause other issues for pregnant women, such as dehydration. As Cephalexin is a penicillin-based antibiotic, it may also cause itchiness and rash, which may also indicate allergic reaction.
Although this antibiotic is generally considered safe for pregnant women to use, there are potential risks to the fetus as with most drugs during pregnancy. It is recommended to contact a healthcare professional before taking Cephalexin in pregnancy to discuss the necessity of the antibiotic and the potential risks of Cephalexin use. During the course of the antibiotic, it is further recommended to be wary of any potential side effects and notify a healthcare professional if any appear.