Pneumonia in the Pregnant Patient: A Synopsis

, and , Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY


Medscape General Medicine. 1999;1(3) 

In This Article

Effect of Pneumonia on Obstetric Outcome

Although pneumonia can occur at any time during pregnancy, Hopwood's study found the mean time of onset was 32 weeks[8] and that preterm labor was more likely to occur if the pneumonia was present between the 20th and 36th weeks of gestation.[12] All of the large studies of pneumonia in pregnancy report significant fetal complications, with the majority of poor fetal outcomes occurring in mothers with underlying comorbidities, such as chronic respiratory disease. It is important to note that although no congenital syndrome has been attributed to the presence of antepartum pneumonia, the fever, tachypnea, and hypoxemia associated with acute pneumonia may be harmful to the developing fetus. Preterm labor as a complication of infection may follow the uterine response to certain mediators of infection and inflammation.[10,13]

It is quite possible that the cascade of mediators released by the active host inflammatory response to infection exerts distant effects on the uterus, leading to a high rate of preterm labor during the course of pneumonia.


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