In pregnancy the womb (uterus) can become infected, either through the blood stream or ascending infection from the vagina. This is more common if the membranes have ruptured (see PROM). Although uncommon it is a very serious life threatening complication. The uterus become tender and the mother often has a fever and vaginal discharge. If you experience unusual abdominal pain, especially with a fever or discharge, you should contact your obstetrician or midwife.
Chorioamnionitis is an infection of the membranes (placental tissues) and amniotic fluid. It occurs in about 1 to 2 percent of all pregnancies, but is much more common in preterm births. Chorioamnionitis can cause bacteraemia (blood infection) in the mother and may lead to preterm birth and serious infection in the newborn baby. Other terms for chorioamnionitis include intra-amniotic infection and amnionitis.
The organisms usually responsible for chorioamnionitis are those that are normally present in the vagina, including Escherichia coli (E. coli). Group B streptococcus may also cause the infection. Chorioamnionitis can develop when the membranes (amniotic sac) are ruptured (broken) for an extended period. This allows the vaginal organisms to move upward into the uterus.
Treatment for chorioamnionitis:
Specific treatment for chorioamnionitis will be determined by your physician based on:
- Your overall health and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
Antibiotics are used to treat chorioamnionitis as soon as the infection is diagnosed. Antibiotics are usually continued after delivery as well. Delivery is often necessary to prevent complications in the mother, or if the fetus is in danger.