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New Thinking on C-section Antibiotics

In order to minimize the risk of infection in mothers, women giving birth to babies by caesarean section should routinely receive antibiotics an hour before the surgery, according to a new recommendation issued Monday by a national doctor group.

Currently, women who undergo caesareans often receive antibiotics as a precaution against infection to the abdomen and uterus—but usually only after the delivery, when the umbilical cord is clamped, because of concern for the baby's safety.

Some pediatricians worry that antibiotics administered to the mother will reach the newborn and suppress the baby's blood bacterial count, potentially masking a serious infection in the baby unrelated to the caesarean section.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists examined several large, recent studies that administered antibiotics to mothers before and after caesarean deliveries. The group concluded there was no evidence of greater risk to the babies when mothers received antibiotics before surgery. Yet there was an increased benefit for the mothers in receiving the antibiotics before surgery.
 
 

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