IAI is an abbreviation for intra-amniotic infection or inflammation. The two conditions are different, but little information is available to pregnant women about inflammation compared to infection. A 2004 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests intra-amniotic inflammation may be more effective at determining pregnant women at risk for preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) as inflammation can occur independently of infection (1).
IAI – Inflammation
Intra-amniotic inflammation can occur in the presence of infection, but infection is not always present making it difficult to find the cause of intra-amniotic inflammation in some cases. Intra-amniotic inflammation has been associated with PPROM andcerebral palsy (2).
IAI – Infection
Intra-amniotic infection is caused by bacteria. The bacteria can infect membranes, placenta, and amniotic fluid. The condition is directly related to PPROM, but as the pregnancy progresses, the risk of PPROM decreases. Before the 27th week of gestation, the risk of IAI is about 41%, but that risk drops dramatically by term to just 2%.
The source of bacteria is not the same in all pregnant women suffering from IAI. In one case study published in the journal Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology, a pregnant woman tested positive for IAI after coming in contact with bacteria in her partner’s mouth (3). The bacteria were associated with periodontal disease. Other common bacteria found in IAI include E. coli, anaerobic bacteria, and group B strep.
Who is at Increased Risk for IAI?
Some women are at increased risk of developing an IAI (infection) that may lead to IAI (inflammation). The increased risk is found in women:
- Less than 21 years old
- Living in a low-income household
- During the first pregnancy
Complications of pregnancy, including longer than normal labor, lower genital tract infections and placement of internal fetal monitoring can also increase the risk of infection.
Is IAI Dangerous for My Fetus?
IAI, both infection, and inflammation can lead to preterm labor. Infection also carries the risk of Bacteremia, excessive blood loss and increased likelihood delivery will occur via C-section rather than vaginal delivery. It is estimated that up to 12% of women will contract Bacteremia and up to 8% will need a C-section following IAI.