Erythromycin is an antibiotic of the
macrolide family used to treat many
infections. It can be used safely during
pregnancy and is often a good choice
when a woman is allergic to penicillin
Important: Erythromycin works best
when taken 1 hour before or 2 hours
after a meal. If this makes a person
nauseated, take with a little food.
Do not break up tablets. Tablets are
often coated to prevent strong stomach
juices from breaking down the drug
before it can begin to work.
Side effects: Upset stomach, nausea,
diarrhea. May cause yeast infection in
women or diaper rash in children.
Often comes in: tablets or capsules of
250 mg; powder for solution of 125 mg
per 5 ml; ointment of 1%.
How to use:
For newborn eye care (see p. 261), use
0.5% or 1% ointment 1 time only,
within 2 hours of the birth.
For breast infection (see p. 289),
chlamydia (see p. 324), or chancroid
(see p. 331), give 500 mg by mouth
4 times a day for 7 days.
For a baby with chlamydia (see p. 324),
give 30 mg syrup by mouth 4 times a
day for 14 days.
For syphilis (see p. 330) or pelvic
infection (see p. 325), give 500 mg by
mouth 4 times a day for 14 days.
For infection after genital cutting (see
p. 369), give 500 mg by mouth 4 times
a day for 10 days.
continued . . .
Other drugs that may work:
amoxicillin, benzathine benzylpenicillin,
ceftriaxone, dicloxicillin, iodine,
procaine penicillin, tetracycline
WARNING: Do not give
erythromycin to someone who
is allergic to drugs in the
Iron is a mineral that everyone,
especially a pregnant woman, needs to
have healthy blood and enough energy.
It is possible but difficult to get enough
iron by eating meat or lots of green
Important: Eating fruits and vegetables
high in vitamin C can help the body use
Side effects: Nausea, diarrhea,
constipation. Iron is best taken with
Often comes in: tablets of many
How to use:
To prevent anemia in pregnancy, give
300 to 325 mg by mouth once a day
with meals, throughout pregnancy.
To treat anemia (see p. 116), give 300 to
325 mg by mouth 2 or 3 times a day
until the woman no longer has signs of
anemia, or throughout pregnancy.
WARNING: High doses of iron
can be poisonous. Keep iron
away from children.
A Book for Midwives (2010)