(Amnionitis; Chorioamnion Infection; Intra-amniotic Infection)
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.
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The infection is caused by bacteria. It can be passed to the baby.
This problem is more common in young mothers. The risk is also higher in those who:
- Have labor start before the baby is due
- Have their water break before the baby is due—preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM)
- Have many vaginal exams after their water breaks
- Have a long labor
- Are pregnant with their first child
- Had prior infections, such as group B streptococcus (GBS) or bacterial vaginosis (BV)
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
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:
The baby will need to be delivered right away. A cesarean section may be needed if:
- Vaginal delivery would take too long
- Symptoms worsen
- The baby may be harmed
IV antibiotics are given to fight the infection. A baby with the infection will also need them.
The doctor will avoid vaginal exams during later stages of pregnancy or after a person's water breaks. Some people may be given antibiotics.
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
Canadian Women's Health Network
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
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.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG Last Updated: 8/24/2021