For more information about the organization of teratology information specialists

For more information about the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists or to find a service in your area, call (866) 626-6847 or visit
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Tetracycline and Pregnancy

This sheet talks about the risks that exposure to tetracycline can have during pregnancy. With each pregnancy,
all women have a 3% to 5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. This information should not take the
place of medical care and advice from your health care provider.

What is tetracycline?
calcification (hardening) of the teeth, which starts at about four months. This problem treat conditions including acne and respiratory appears to be only cosmetic, and does not infections. It belongs to a group of antibiotics appear to affect the development of the enamel that includes minocycline, oxytetracycline, or the chance of getting cavities. We do not doxycycline, and other related antibiotics. In know what percentage of exposed babies will general, the concerns stated in this fact sheet have discoloration of the teeth. For this reason, the use of tetracycline should be avoided after antibiotics. Tetracycline is usually taken orally four months of pregnancy unless there is a special condition requiring the doctor to I am taking tetracycline during the first month
of my pregnancy. Is there a risk for birth
I have heard that tetracycline also affects the
bones of developing babies, in addition to the
teeth. Is this true?
of pregnancies when women took tetracycline during the first trimester (the first 12 weeks), calcification (hardening) of the bones and teeth, which is the period when all the body organs and it also appears to cause reduced growth of are forming. These studies have not shown an some bones while the baby is being exposed to increased risk for major birth defects in children exposed to tetracycline in the first discoloration is permanent, the bone growth seems to return to normal after the tetracycline minor birth defects such as an inguinal hernia, but the number of reports is too small to be sure I am 14 weeks pregnant and I am taking
this risk exists. Once you know that you are tetracycline. If I stop taking it now, how long
pregnant, it is a good idea to talk to your health will tetracycline stay in my body?
care provider about continuing the use of It takes less than 5 days for tetracycline to be cleared from the body of most people. If you stop taking the medication now, your baby will not be exposed to tetracycline after one Is there a risk for other problems if I take
week. As with any medication, you should tetracycline at any time during pregnancy?
speak with your health care provider before you fourth month of pregnancy, there is a risk for discoloration (graying) of the "baby" teeth. The discoloration of the baby teeth is due to What if I am taking one of the other
What if the father of the baby takes
minocycline, oxytetracycline, or doxycycline
instead of tetracycline? Does that still put my
suggest that use of tetracycline by the father baby at risk?
would negatively affect the sperm or increase the risk for birth defects. For more information tetracycline, it is possible that they could also about a father’s exposures and pregnancy, affect a baby's teeth and bones in the same way if taken in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. There are some reports of babies exposures, and for that reason, it is best to use July 2010.
Copyright by OTIS.
I am pregnant and I often get upper
respiratory infections for which my doctor
prescribes tetracycline. If I get one of these
Briggs GG, et al. 1998. Drugs in Pregnancy and infections after I am five months pregnant,
Lactation. Fifth Edition. Baltimore, MD: Williams & what should I do?
Committee on Drugs, American Academy of Pediatrics consider a different medication to treat your 2001. The transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human breast milk. Pediatrics. 108:776-789. Egerman, et al. 1992. The tetracyclines. Obstet Gynecol I am breastfeeding and thinking about taking
tetracycline. Can it still affect my baby?
Genot MT, et al. 1970. Effect of administration of tetracycline on teeth. J Oral Med. 25:75-79. to harden until one year of age. Therefore, if a baby is exposed to tetracycline in breast milk, Kline, et al. 1964. Transplacental effect of tetracycline theoretically it could cause tooth discoloration and delayed bone growth. Yet, since only very low levels of tetracycline enter into the breast Kutscher, et al. 1966. Discoloration of deciduous teeth induced by administration of tetracycline antepartum. The WHO Working Group, Bennet, PN (ed). 1988. has rated tetracycline as usually compatible Drugs and Human Lactation. New York: Elsevier. with breastfeeding. Also, the WHO Working Gilman AG, et al. (Eds). 1985. Goodman and Gilman's Group on Human Lactation states that when the The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. Seventh antibiotic is used for seven to 10 days while nursing, the risk to the infant appears to be low. Other types of antibiotics may be preferable for O'Rahilly R and Mueller F. 1992. Human Embryology & long term use while breastfeeding. If you have any concerns about breastfeeding while taking these types of antibiotics, talk to your health If you have questions about the information on this fact sheet or other exposures during pregnancy, call OTIS at 1-866-626-6847.


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