Chorioamnionitis is an infection. It occurs in the membranes that surround the fetus. These membranes are called the chorion and the amnion. It is also an infection of the amniotic fluid. This fluid surrounds the fetus and protects it.
Chorioamnionitis can be a very serious condition. It requires special care from the doctor. A pregnant woman will need to deliver her baby right away. This is for the health of both the mother and the baby.
Birthing Complications: Intrauterine (Uterine) Infection
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Bacterial infections usually cause this condition. Infection may begin in the mother’s genital tract. Bacteria then move up from the vagina, through the cervix, and into the fetal membranes. It then moves into the amniotic sac and its fluid. There it can then pass to the fetus. Many types of bacteria may cause this infection.
Chorioamnionitis is more common in young women. Other factors that can increase your chance of developing chorioamnionitis include: Low socioeconomic statusFirst childMultiple vaginal exams after rupture of the amniotic sacLong labor
History of bacterial infection, such as
group B streptococcus
bacterial vaginosisPremature rupture of membranesPreterm labor
Symptoms may include: FeverIncreased heart rate in both the mother and the fetusTender uterusDischarge with odor from the vagina
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your bodily fluid may need to be tested. This can be done with blood tests or amniocentesis.
The fetal heart rate will be monitored. The heart rate will increase if the mother has an infection.
The baby will need to be delivered. A
may be needed if:
would take too long
Mother shows signs of worsening illnessBaby shows signs of distress
Antibiotics will be delivered by IV into the mother's veins. The baby will get antibiotics if there is an infection present after birth.
To help reduce your chance of developing chorioamnionitis, take the following steps: Attend regular prenatal check-ups.
Call your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.Get tested for GBS.
This routine vaginal culture is done during your 35th-37th week.Take steps to
prevent bacterial vaginosis. For example, practice safe sex. Do not use douches or feminine sprays.
Tell your doctor right away if you have
premature rupture of the membranes
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Edwards RK. Chorioamnionitis and labor.
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Greenwald J. Premature rupture of the membranes: diagnostic and management strategies.
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Use of prophylactic antibiotics in labor and delivery.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Practice Bulletin No. 120
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Wellbery C. Neonate CBC and maternal chorioamnionitis.
Am Fam Physician
Last reviewed May 2014 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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