Postpregnancy Genital Tract and Wound Infections

Nell Tharpe, CNM, CRNFA, MS


J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008;53(3):236-246. 

In This Article

Risk Factors for Obstetric Infection

While prophylactic antibiotic use during cesarean birth and treatment of identified infections has reduced the incidence of maternal morbidity and mortality from infections following pregnancy, identification of modifiable contributing factors may further reduce the incidence and sequelae of pregnancy-associated infections in women. Multiple factors affect whether a woman develops a genital tract or wound infection during the postpartum or postabortion period ( Table 1 ). Some factors are predetermined and unchangeable, but other factors are clearly modifiable. While many risk factors stem from relatively fixed maternal health and socioeconomic circumstances, other risk factors are modifiable factors related to the individual patient, practitioner, and/or health care system,[7,12,14,15,16] such as the number and frequency of vaginal exams in labor, length of surgery, or surgical technique.