What is chorioamnionitis?

Chorioamnionitis is a condition that can affect pregnant women. In this condition, bacteria infects the chorion and amnion (the membranes that surround the fetus) and the amniotic fluid (in which the fetus floats). This can lead to infections in both the mother and fetus. In most cases, this may mean the fetus has to be delivered as soon as possible.

What are the causes of chorioamnionitis?

Chorioamnionitis is caused by a bacterial infection that usually starts in the mother’s urogenital tract (urinary tract). Specifically, the infection can start in the vagina, anus, or rectum and move up into the uterus where the fetus is located.

Chorioamnionitis occurs in up to 2 percent of births in the United States and is one of the causes of premature delivery.

What are the symptoms of chorioamnionitis?

Although chorioamnionitis does not always cause symptoms, some women with the infection might have the following:

  • High temperature and fever
  • Rapid heartbeat (the fetus might also have a rapid heartbeat)
  • Sweating
  • A uterus that is tender to the touch
  • A discharge from the vagina that has an unusual smell

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