The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital has launched a new pilot study that will be the first to examine the link by recruiting patients.
Anesthesiologists say the use of antibiotics during pregnancy and childbirth has increased over the past two decades.
“It’s really thought that over the last 10 to 20 years, 50 percent or more of women have been exposed to antibiotics, and of course their babies have been exposed,” said Associate Professor Victoria Eley, a specialist anesthesiologist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. said.
She said all women who had a planned or emergency cesarean were given antibiotics before delivery to prevent infection.
Antibiotics are also used for other symptoms, such as premature rupture of the membrane surrounding the baby or when a woman has a fever during childbirth.
Dr Eley says some of her collaborators discovered that when a baby is exposed to antibiotics, it affects the type of bacteria that grow in their mouth and gastrointestinal tract.
“Antibiotics babies are exposed to at birth can affect the bacteria in their gut and how their immune systems develop,” Associate Professor Eley said. Said.
The first phase of the new pilot study will focus on babies born by cesarean section. A group of women taking antibiotics will be compared to a group not taking the drug.
Researchers will collect samples of breast milk, baby’s stool, and amniotic fluid to examine the differences.
Associate Professor Eley said, “Keeping women safe is very important, so only very low risk women will be included in this study.” Said.
The study will provide early clues as to whether antibiotics given at birth make children more susceptible to food allergies, asthma and eczema.
Ongoing research will help determine whether a more targeted approach to antibiotic prescribing is needed.