Common Antibiotics

Oral infections commonly require treatment during pregnancy. The antibiotics listed below are all generally safe to take during pregnancy with the caveats listed below.

  • Penicillin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Cephalexin
    • Appropriate alternative for nontype I penicillin allergic patients (risk of allergic cross-reaction is approximately 2%).
  • Erythromycin base
    • Appropriate choice in a penicillin type I reaction allergic patient.
    • Erythromycin estolate (no longer available in the U.S.) is relatively contraindicated as it is associated with cholestatic hepatitis in pregnancy.
  • Clindamycin
    • Appropriate choice in a penicillin type I reaction allergic patient.
  • Metronidazole
    • May use during pregnancy as needed. Caution advised while breastfeeding.


Sheehy O, Santos F, Ferreira E, Berard A. The use of metronidazole during pregnancy: a review of evidence. Curr Drug Saf. 2015;10(2):170-9. doi: 10.2174/157488631002150515124548. PMID: 25986038.

Motherisk. Toronto, Ontario, Canada at (which included referencing National Collaborative Perinatal Project, 1959-1974, Record Group 443, National Institutes of Health.)

Hilgers KK, Douglass JM, Mathieu GP. Adolescent Pregnancy: A Review of Dental Treatment Guidelines. Pediatr Dent 2003;25:459-467.

Care During Pregnancy and Early Childhood Practice Guidelines. New York Public Health Department 2006. 

US Food and Drug Administration Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Final Rule

Oral Health Care During Pregnancy Expert Workgroup. 2012. Oral Health Care During Pregnancy: A National Consensus Statement-Summary of an Expert Workgroup Meeting. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center.

Briggs GC, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, Ninth Edition.  Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia, PA 2011.