What is Infected Placenta & How is it Treated?

What is Infected Placenta?

Infected Placenta which is also known by the names of chorioamnionitis and an intra-amniotic infection is quite a serious medical condition which may result in complications during pregnancy and may affect the overall health of the mother.

Infected Placenta develops when bacteria enters the body through the birth canal or infects the placenta through the bloodstream of the mother. Bacteria are the main cause of Placental infection, but there are also other pathogens which can result in an Infected Placenta. Infected Placenta can cause the amniotic fluid to become cloudy as a result of infiltration of leukocytes resulting in swelling of the tissues and vascular congestion.

Infected Placenta or placental infection can lead to the baby being born earlier than the stipulated date due to premature rupture of membranes. The baby born may have a very low Apgar scores and may have severe conditions like sepsis, respiratory infections, seizures, pneumonia and sometimes the baby is not able to survive. For the mother, the complications include bacteremia, pelvis abscess, poor wound healing, and even something as serious as thromboembolism due to an Infected Placenta.

What Causes Infected Placenta?

What Causes Infected Placenta?

In majority of the cases, Infected Placenta is caused due to bacteria and the bacteria responsible for other urologic infections are also at play here. The vagina and the cervix protect the uterus from any form of infection. When this is compromised it may allow passage of bacteria into the uterus thus, causing Infected Placenta. Some of the other risk factors for placental infection are poor urologic and genital hygiene, a short cervix, and individuals with a compromised immune state due to medical conditions like HIV.

Apart from bacteria some of the other conditions that may result in an Infected Placenta are infections like:

What are the Symptoms of Infected Placenta?

The symptoms of Infected Placenta are quite variable and sometimes may be so little that a diagnosis may be missed. Some of the symptoms of an Infected Placenta are:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge with normally yellow or green discharge with a foul odor.
  • Tenderness in the abdominal and pelvic areas.
  • Fever.
  • Increased heart rate in both the mother and the fetus.

How is Infected Placenta Treated?

The most preferred form of treating Infected Placenta is broad spectrum intravenous antibiotics in order to prevent complications in both the mother and the child. This may be started as soon as there is a suspicion of an Infected Placenta even though the final results of the tests and cultures may not be available. These antibiotics may have to be continued by both mother and the child even after delivery, but the antibiotic given to the mother and that given to the child may be different. In cases of severe forms of Infected Placenta, immediate delivery may be required especially when there are clear signs of fetal distress, although this depends on the stage of the pregnancy.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 17, 2017

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