Amniotic Fluid Infection

Amniotic Fluid Infection


Amnionic Fluid (AF): Amniotic fluid is the liquid that surrounds a baby in the womb. It plays a crucial role in a baby's development. Amniotic fluid accomplishes numerous functions for the fetus:

    Protection from outside injury by cushioning sudden blows or movements.

  • Allowing for freedom of fetal movement and permitting symmetrical musculoskeletal development.

  • Maintaining a relatively constant temperature for the environment surrounding the fetus, thus protecting the fetus from heat loss.

  • Permitting proper lung development.

  • Promotes development of the gastrointestinal system because the baby swallows the fluid.

  • Promotes development of muscles and bones because the baby can move around.

In a normal pregnancy approximately 500 ml of amniotic fluid is produced. In almost seven percent of pregnancies, amniotic fluid problems develop. Imbalances in amniotic fluid volume can cause pregnancy complications. In very rare events, amniotic fluid may even pass through the placenta and enter the mother's bloodstream, causing a life-threatening pregnancy complication called amniotic fluid embolism.

The amniotic fluid infection syndrome is the condition in which intrauterine infection of the extraplacental fetal membranes and plate of the placenta occurs before the onset of labor and in the presence of intact membranes. Congenital pneumonia may develop as part of this syndrome.

Amniotic Fluid

It occurs most commonly either by microbes from the vagina that infiltrate the amniotic sac, or by microbes that travel through the mother's bloodstream from other parts of her body, such as the mouth. In fact, both gum disease and bacterial vaginosis have been shown to increase a woman's risk of delivering her baby prematurely.

A further possibility in the genesis of amniotic fluid infections is that changes in vaginal pH caused by organisms such as Trichomonas vaginalis may encourage growth of other organisms responsible for amniotic fluid infection. Recent studies have shown an incidence of about 50% of trichomonal infection in pregnant women in a community with a high incidence of amniotic fluid infections.

There are some known risk factors, all of which affect the normal, protective mechanisms of either the birth canal or the urinary tract.

    Prolonged rupture of the membranes.

  • Multiple vaginal examination during labor.

  • Various types of internal monitoring systems used before or during labour.


    Normally, the leaking is caused by a bacterial infection or by a defect in the structure of the amniotic sac or the uterus or the cervix. This leakage may lead to further complications for the growth of the fetus, as it may hamper the growth of the fetus and may cause bacterial infection to spread from the vagina to the uterus and consequently to the fetus.

  • An increased heart rate in the mother more than 120 beats a minute.

  • Abdominal tenderness.


The diagnosis is based on microscopic evidence of acute inflammation of the extraplacental membranes and subchorionic plate of the placenta together with, in some instances, fetal pneumonia. Most of these infections are not recognized on clinical grounds. They may begin as early as the first trimester, but are much more common towards the end of pregnancy.

    Take a small sample of amniotic fluid for cultures to demonstrate the presence of any bacteria.

  • Perform blood tests on the mother.

  • Urine sample tests may be helpful.

  • A vaginal swab test may also be necessary to identify bacteria/germs.


With an early diagnosis antibiotics can certainly improve the developing situation, especially with regard to the baby. In general, you receive antibiotics intravenously until you have delivered or have been without fever or other symptoms for approximately 24 hours. The antibiotics are then discontinued and you can leave the hospital. Most patients do not require oral antibiotics on an outpatient basis. If we could prevent these infections in the first place, or detect them sooner, we might one day be able to prevent some of these premature births.

Disclaimer: The following tests, drugs and medications, surgical procedures are in some way related to, or used in the treatment. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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