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The safety of taking nitrofurantoin in pregnancy generally depends upon the stage of gestation. Historically, there has not been evidence indicating that the drug will harm the fetus during most phases of pregnancy. It is believed by many medical professionals to be risky to take the drug in the last month of pregnancy, however. Studies have continued to be conducted to find conclusive evidence about the safety of nitrofurantoin in pregnancy. Women who become pregnant while taking the drug are typically advised to consult with a healthcare professional promptly.
Women might take nitrofurantoin in pregnancy to treat urinary tract infections. Many doctors will suggest ceasing use of the drug by about 38-42 weeks into the pregnancy, which is approximately when the baby is at full term. It also should not be taken if the woman is going into labor.
The safety of taking nitrofurantoin in pregnancy has not been clear, so doctors often prescribe the drug with caution. There usually must be a demonstrated need for the drug. Some women might be at too high of a risk for taking the drug. For this reason, it is important for a woman to disclose her full medical history to the prescribing doctor before taking the drug. Some doctors will want to observe the patient and fetus more closely while the drug is being administered.
This drug is excreted into breast milk, so new mothers typically are advised not to take nitrofurantoin if they are nursing. When the child is at least 1 month old, it might be safe for the mother to resume taking the drug and keep breastfeeding. A doctor should be consulted about whether the risk to the child has subsided by this time.
Nitrofurantoin is an antibiotic medication that comes in liquid and capsule forms. It typically is prescribed to be taken several times a day. The drug usually is prescribed to treat urinary tract infections.
Patients who have previous conditions such as lung or kidney disease, nerve damage or anemia might need adjusted dosage or extra observation while taking nitrofurantoin. Some of the most common side effects include low appetite, nausea and vomiting. There also have been reports of patients having dark, discolored urine. These side effects usually are not serious and need to be discussed with a doctor only if they worsen or do not go away.
There also are several serious potential side effects of taking nitrofurantoin, include fever, chills and breathing problems. Patients also have reported chest pain, uncharacteristic tiredness or weakness of the muscles and a swollen tongue or lips. These symptoms should receive immediate medical attention.