#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Do I Need An Antibiotic After Childbirth?


Q: Please Doctor, is it advisable to take medicines like Flagyl immediately after childbirth to avoid any form of infection? Please I am confused. Thanks ma’am.
 
A: Hello dear. Thanks for writing in and congratulations on your new baby.
 
The first point to note is that you really should not be taking any medication(s) without your doctor’s prescription. If your doctor is involved, he will weigh the potential risks to the baby against the potential benefits before deciding whether the medication is needed or not. So, you do yourself and your baby a great dis-service if you self-prescribe.
 
If you put to bed in a proper hospital, chances are that you may not need antibiotics as asepsis (the absence of microorganisms) from the entire birth process is the rule of the game. There are some circumstances though, that may warrant antibiotics after delivery. A good example would be after a Caesarian Section.
 
Having said that, the ‘usual’ dose of metronidazole (Flagyl) at about 200-400mg three times daily for 7 to 10 days, has not been found to pose risks to the baby. This may be different for pre-term babies, though. However, if taking the single 2g dose, it may be necessary to delay breastfeeding for about 12 hours after each dose. This may mean that you would need to express breast milk to tide your baby over the period you will not be breastfeeding him/her.
 
People taking metronidazole complain of a metallic taste in the mouth. It has been suggested that babies with mothers on this medication refuse the fore milk as a result of the presence of a metabolite (product of breakdown of this medication), which imparts a metallic taste to the fore milk.
 
As I noted earlier, before taking any medication, be guided by your doctor and not by your feeling of needing to treat an infection.
 
Be safe!
 
Have a good night, y’all
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