For most parents, the fear lurks that something you did to help your child — supplements or prescriptions while pregnant, drugs during labor, or vaccines, for example — will later turn out to have been harmful.
A British study shows that to have potentially been the case for children of mothers who were given erythromycin during preterm labor when the membranes were intact. Standard practice is to give it when membranes have been ruptured prematurely, to lessen the risk of infection to both mother and baby, and some doctors give antibiotics even when the membranes remain intact but the mother has gone into labor too early.
A study of more than 3,000 children whose mothers participaited in a widespread health study when they were born were tracked at age 7 to see what, if any, difficulties they may have experienced as a result of getting antibiotics. The study, called the ORACLE Children Study 2, was completed in 2001 and the findings were part of a follow-up conducted on the children at age 7.
Children whose mothers received erythromycin, were at 18 percent greater risk of functional impairment compared to children of mothers who had not received erythromycin – 42