- What is amniotic fluid?
- What is an intra-amniotic infection?
- What are the symptoms of an intra-amniotic infection?
- What are the risks of an intra-amniotic infection?
- How can doctors tell if I have an intra-amniotic infection?
- How do doctors treat an intra-amniotic infection?
- How can I prevent an intra-amniotic infection?
- Resources In This Article
Amniotic fluid is the liquid that surrounds your baby when you're pregnant. The amniotic fluid is held in the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac forms inside of your uterus (womb) when you're pregnant. It contains your baby and amniotic fluid. When labor starts, your amniotic sac breaks open (ruptures) and amniotic fluid leaks out. This is called "having your water break."
An intra-amniotic infection is an infection of the amniotic fluid or sac. It happens when bacteria (germs) from your vagina (birth canal) get into your uterus. The infection can harm your baby. It can also cause serious problems for you.
Bacteria can enter your uterus more easily after your water breaks
You're more likely to get an infection if you have certain bacteria in your vagina, such as streptococci (strep)
The more time that passes between when your water breaks and when you deliver, the greater the chance of infection
That's why doctors try to deliver babies within 24 hours of the water breaking
For your baby, an intra-amniotic infection can increase the risk of these problems:
For you, an intra-amniotic infection can increase the risk of these problems:
Doctors can usually tell if you have intra-amniotic infection by doing a physical exam
If your doctor thinks you have an intra-amniotic infection, you may have a blood test
If your water has broken very early or if you’re in labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy, doctors may also test a sample of your amniotic fluid