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Chorioamnionitis [chor-y-oh-am-nee-oh-NY-tis] is an infection of the placenta and the amniotic fluid. Only a few women get it, but, it is a common cause of preterm labor and delivery.
Chorioamnionitis is most often caused by bacteria commonly found in the vagina. It happens more often when the amniotic sac is broken for a long time before birth. This lets bacteria in the vagina move up into the uterus.
You are more likely to have this infection if:
The symptoms of may be slightly different for each person. They may include:
The symptoms of sometimes can look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your provider will ask about your past health. He or she will give you a physical exam. He or she may be able to diagnose chorioamnionitis just by your symptoms. You may also need a lab test to check for infection.
Your healthcare provider may suggest a test called amniocentesis, although this test is not routinely done for chorioamnionitis. During this test, your healthcare provider uses a needle to take a small amount of amniotic fluid for testing.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you and your baby based on:
Antibiotics are used to treat chorioamnionitis as soon as the infection is found. Your healthcare provider may encourage you to deliver your baby early. This can prevent complications for you and your baby. You may need to keep taking antibiotics after your baby is born.
Chorioamnionitis can cause a dangerous blood infection in the mother called bacteremia. This can cause the baby to be born early. It can also cause a serious infection in the newborn, such as pneumonia, meningitis, brain damage, or death.
If your bag of waters breaks early (premature rupture of membranes), antibiotics lowers the chance of chorioamnionitis. It is also helps limit the number of vaginal exams before and during labor.
If your membranes rupture, tell your healthcare provider right away. Other symptoms that call for urgent attention include:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.