Prescription of systemic antibiotics during pregnancy in primary care in Friuli Venezia Giulia, Northeastern Italy

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2015 Jan;28(2):210-5. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2014.906572. Epub 2014 Apr 25.


Objective: To investigate the prescriptions of systemic antibiotics in a population of pregnant women in Italy, to identify socio-demographic factors associated with increased risk of being prescribed potentially unsafe medications, to compare prescriptions before and during pregnancy and to identify the prescribing General Practitioners (GPs).

Methods: A retrospective study based on administrative anonymous databases included all women resident of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region who delivered babies in 2011 (n=9196). The antibiotic prescription risk was calculated by trimester and overall, and compared with that in the year before. Multivariate logistic regression analyses assessed the role of socio-demographic factors on the risk of being prescribed medications that should not be used as first-line.

Results: 6688 women (72.7%) were prescribed medicines (27363 prescriptions) during their pregnancies. Antibiotics were prescribed to 2279 women (24.8%), less commonly during pregnancy than before. Prescriptions were more frequent in the second and third trimesters. 1736 women were prescribed antibiotics other than first-line medicines (of which, seven tetracyclines and 58 quinolones, which are frankly not recommended). Those women were more frequently younger and less educated. The GPs responsible for those prescriptions were identified.

Conclusions: In order to improve the prescription of antibiotics in pregnancy, an audit with the GPs is warranted to understand their motivations, discuss clinical cases and build consensus guidelines on which antibiotics should be preferred for use in pregnancy.

Keywords: Administrative database; antimicrobial drugs; pregnant women; prescription.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Trimesters
  • Primary Health Care* / methods
  • Primary Health Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents