The risk of infection after C-section delivery is just as high as the risk with any other type of surgery. Typically, antibiotics are given after surgery and while effective, there could be a better way to reduce the risk of infection. Researchers have revealed, after studying at least 8,000 women, that antibiotic treatment before delivery is more effective.
Why Wait to Give Antibiotics?
The waiting period to give antibiotics deals with infant health. Doctors were worried that the antibiotics would mask infections signs in the newborn so they waited until after birth to give antibiotics to the mother. New studies reveal that antibiotics given about one hour before surgery have no effect on the newborn and may decrease the rate of infection associated with birth and surgery.
At the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, reduced infection rates associated with all forms of surgery when antibiotics were given before surgery lead the hospital to change antibiotic policy. Now, women who are scheduled for a C-section receive treatment before the surgery, so patients at this hospital were used for this report. Before the changes were made to hospital policy, about 10% of deliveries were associated with infection. After the policy change, that rate dropped to about 300 infections in more than 8,600 C-sections over an eight-year period. There were no reports of negative effects on infants after the policy change. The rates of infection remained low even though more women admitted to the hospital for C-section surgeries measured in the overweight or obese range. Despite the increased risk of infection associated with being overweight and obese, all women benefit from getting a dose of antibiotics before surgery.
There is little doubt you will receive antibiotic treatment as a tool to prevent infection associated with C-section delivery. You could possibly receive treatment before, during and/or after the surgery.