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It’s usually considered safe to take cephalexin during pregnancy, although many doctors only prescribe it during this time when absolutely necessary. No known adverse fetal effects have been found in animal research. However, there aren’t any adequate studies done in humans to conclusively say that there is zero risk. Anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should therefore speak with their doctor before taking cephalexin. 

Cephalexin and Breastfeeding

Cephalexin is detectable in breastmilk, but the amount is generally considered too low to pose any risk of harm to a human infant. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics considers cephalexin and other types of cephalosporins compatible with breastfeeding.


Is it safe to take cephalexin while pregnant?

Experts generally consider it safe to take cephalexin while pregnant; the FDA classifies it as a pregnancy category B. This classification means animal studies do not demonstrate any risk to the fetus, but there are also no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant humans. For this reason, doctors typically only prescribe cephalexin during pregnancy with caution and only if certainly necessary. 

Can taking antibiotics while pregnant hurt the baby?

Certain types of antibiotics while pregnant may increase the risk of fetal harm and abnormal birth defects.

What antibiotics are unsafe during pregnancy?

Some antibiotics are considered unsafe to take during pregnancy and should be avoided by anyone who is pregnant or trying to become pregnant. These drugs include:

  • Bactrim (trimethoprim / sulfamethoxazole)
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cetraxal, Cipro XR, Otiprio)
  • Doxycycline (Doxy-100, Monodox, Oracea)
  • Furadantin (nitrofurantoin)
  • Macrobid (nitrofurantoin)
  • Macrodantin (nitrofurantoin)
  • Minocycline (Minocin)
  • Septra (trimethoprim, Primsol)
  • Tetracycline

This list does not include all the possible antibiotics that may be unsafe during pregnancy. 

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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