Pregnant women’s perspectives on antibiotic use: A qualitative study

Lynn Chen

Authors:  Lynn Chen, Austen Hentschel, Lauren Wright, Hailey Ballard, Nisha Chachad, Elizabeth Flood-Grady, Magda Francois, Elizabeth Shenkman, Janice Krieger, Dominick J Lemas

Faculty Mentor: Dominick J Lemas

College:  College of Medicine


Antibiotics are one of the most prescribed medications to women during pregnancy and infant during early life. Over-utilization of antibiotics during the perinatal period is associated with a variety of adverse health outcomes including obesity. Despite these observations, there is a gap in understanding of how mothers feel about the use of antibiotics during pregnancy. The purpose of this study is to investigate the perspectives on how mothers view the benefits and concerns of taking antibiotics during pregnancy for themselves and their infants during early life. Eighteen in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with pregnant women from Alachua County. The interview transcripts were then analyzed to determine emergent themes based on the participants’ responses. We found that women generally viewed antibiotics as a medication that was over-prescribed and the decision to take antibiotics was largely based on trust in physician guidance, the availability of evidence-based information, and concerns for long-term health outcomes. From our analysis, we have found that the majority of mothers believe that antibiotics, for mom and baby, should only be used when necessary. Additionally, we found that receiving information about safe antibiotic use from trusted health care providers plays an impact on decision making for pregnant women.

Poster Pitch

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12 Responses
  1. Corinne Evans

    I really enjoyed watching your presentation and exploring your poster! I think it’s really interesting that you took data on the pregnant mothers’ education levels. There seems to be some variability in this variable. Do you think there is any chance that a correlation could exist between pregnant moms’ education and their perception of anti-biotics?

    1. Lynn Chen

      Hi Corinne, that is a great question and it is one that we are currently looking in to! Along with education level, we are also looking at previous experiences with antibiotics, which may also affect health literacy.

  2. Sierra Budd

    Hi Lynn! You did a great job on your poster and had a great explanation of your research! In your interviews, did any of the mothers provide insight as to where their concerns about antibiotics stem from? Had they been warned by family, friends, or perhaps articles or the media that antibiotics could have short term or long term affects?

    1. Lynn Chen

      Hi Sierra! Thank you! Yes, many of the mothers shared stories of personal experiences with antibiotics or those of their friends and families. We agree that these may affect their opinions about antibiotic use and have an impact on decision making.