Timing of antibiotics in C-section 'important for reducing infection'

3 August 2012

The timing of when antibiotics are administered during a C-section is key when it comes to reducing infections, scientists have found.

A paper published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that giving the mother antibiotics before caesarean section surgery rather than immediately after their baby's umbilical cord is clamped reduced the chance of infection at the surgical site.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital studied more than 8,000 women during an eight-year period.

Infection disease specialist David K Warren explained: "Until recently, standard practice in the U.S. was to give antibiotics when the baby was delivered, after the umbilical cord was clamped."

Previously, doctors administered the antibiotics post-birth as it was feared these medications could hide signs of blood infection in the newborn.

However, recent studies have shown that giving the mother the drugs in the hour before surgery reduced their risk of infection while the infant's health was not affected.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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