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Erythromycin and SIDS

30 Jan 1997

I am three months pregnant and have suffered from a pretty bad sore throat for 13 days now so I went to my OB-GYN for a throat culture. I have been worried that I have strep throat which might harm my unborn baby. I don't know if that is a legit concern in itself, but it has had me in knots. My doctor's office called today and, although I don't have strep, I do have a "bacterial growth" and my doctor wants to put me on a low dosage of (I think, spelling??) erythomyicine.

I'm very scared to take antibiotics. I was pretty ill with my last pregnancy and took antibiotics for ten days on two occasions and my daughter later died of SIDS. Related? I don't know, my doctor says no way, but I'm not taking any risks. He told me today I really need to take these antibiotics now because it is important that I take care of my own health during this pregnancy. I trust him, but my daughter was his first SIDS baby... what if he is wrong or just doesn't know?

Do you think my fears are rational? Could antibiotics be considered a risk factor for SIDS?

As a neonatologist, caring for sick newborn infants, I would like to jump in here. Erythromycin is a safe drug for the fetus since it does not cross the placenta and get into the baby's blood stream in any significant amount. It can give the mom an upset stomach but does not directly affect the baby.

JDDeCristofaro, MD
University Medical Center
Stony Brook, NY
Infant Apnea Program

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