Antibiotics in Pregnancy Increase Children’s Risk of Otitis Media and Ventilation Tubes Interview with:
Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc

Professor of Pediatrics
The Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen University Hospital, Gentofte
Copenhagen, Denmark What is the background for this study?

Response: The consumption of antibiotics is increasing worldwide. Antibiotics alter the maternal bacterial colonization and by vertical transmission this can affect the offspring. An unfavorable microbiome may increase the disease propensity of the offspring.
Otitis media is one of the most common infections in early childhood. We hypothesized that antibiotic consumption in pregnancy can increase the children’s risk of otitis media. What are the main findings?

Response: Maternal antibiotic intake during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of acute otitis media and ventilation tubes in early childhood, especially after treatment in the third trimester. We furthermore observed a dose-response relationship. We found no effects of post pregnancy maternal treatment on the risk of either acute otitis media or ventilation tubes in the children. We only found an effect of prenatal antibiotic treatments on the offspring’s risk of otitis media. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The effect of the timing of the antibiotic intake suggests a potential mechanism mediated by a disturbed vertical transmission of microbiota between mother and child. Care must be taken to avoid unnecessary or inappropriate treatments due to potential long-term consequences for the child. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: It is important to replicate the result in another cohort or in National Registries.
In the future, it could be interesting to try to find the mechanism behind this finding – to investigate the association further between the early microbiome and the risk of disease.

No disclosures Thank you for your contribution to the community.


J Pediatr. 2017 Apr;183:153-158.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.12.046. Epub 2017 Jan 11.
Antibiotics in Pregnancy Increase Children’s Risk of Otitis Media and Ventilation Tubes.
Pedersen TM1, Stokholm J1, Thorsen J2, Mora-Jensen AC1, Bisgaard H3.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on April 5, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD