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by EBSCO Medical Review Board
(Amnionitis; Chorioamnion Infection; Intra-amniotic Infection)

Definition

Chorioamnionitis is an infection in the membranes and amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects the fetus.

Delivery will need to be done right away to protect the mother and baby from harm.

An Infection in the Uterus
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Causes

The infection is caused by bacteria. It can be passed to the baby.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in young mothers. The risk is also higher in those who:

Symptoms

Some people may not have problems. Those who do may have:

  • A high fever
  • A belly that is tender to the touch
  • Odor and discharge from the vagina

Diagnosis

The infection may be diagnosed based on the symptoms.

Testing may not be done when the infection is found during labor. However, the diagnosis may be confirmed with:

  • Blood tests
  • Amniocentesis—amniotic fluid samples
  • Biopsy—tissue samples from around the baby

Treatment

The baby will need to be delivered right away. A cesarean section may be needed if:

IV antibiotics are given to fight the infection. A baby with the infection will also need them.

Prevention

The doctor will avoid vaginal exams during later stages of pregnancy or after a person's water breaks. Some people may be given antibiotics.

RESOURCES

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  http://www.acog.org 

American Pregnancy Association  https://americanpregnancy.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Women's Health Network  http://www.cwhn.ca 

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada  https://sogc.org 

References

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No. 712: Intrapartum Management of Intraamniotic Infection. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Aug;130(2):e95-e101.

Chorioamnionitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chorioamnionitis. Accessed August 24, 2021.

Committee on Practice Bulletins—Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 199: use of prophylactic antibiotics in labor and delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 2018;132(3):e103-e119.

Revision Information