WEDNESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women about to
undergo a cesarean delivery should be given antibiotics right
before the procedure to help prevent infections, the American
College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends.
Infection is the most common complication of cesarean delivery
and occurs in 10 percent to 40 percent of women who have the
procedure, compared with 1 percent to 3 percent of women who
deliver vaginally, according to the college.
Typically, antibiotics were only given after a cesarean delivery
because it was believed that if they were given prior to birth,
they would make their way into the baby's blood and interfere with
newborn lab tests or lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in the
"Based on the latest data, prophylactic antibiotics given to pregnant women before a cesarean significantly reduce maternal infection and do not appear to harm newborns," Dr. William H. Barth, Jr., chair of the ACOG's Committee on Obstetric Practice, said in a college news release.
"We're recommending that all women who undergo cesarean get a preventive course of antibiotics before the surgery starts. Ideally, this should happen within 60 minutes of surgery," he added.
Women who require an emergency cesarean should be given
antibiotics as soon as possible, according to the new
However, the recommendation would not apply to pregnant women
who are already taking antibiotics for another condition, Barth
The new recommendation will be published in the September issue
of the journal
Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The Nemours Foundation has more about