|Spread of Infection|
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- Premature birth—more than three weeks before due date
- Early labor—more than three weeks before your due date
- Infant is in distress before being born
- Infant has a very low birth weight
- Infant has a bowel movement before being born and fetal stool is in the uterus
- Amniotic fluid surrounding the infant has a bad smell or the infant has a bad smell right after being born
- Male babies have a greater risk for neonatal sepsis than female babies
- Labor complications resulting in traumatic or premature delivery
- Water that broke more than 18 hours before giving birth
- Fever or other infections while you are in labor
- Need for a catheter for a long time while you are pregnant
- Presence of group B streptococcal bacteria in vaginal or rectal areas
- Many courses of prenatal steroids
- Prolonged internal monitoring during labor and delivery
- Fever or frequent changes in temperature
- Breathing rapidly, difficulty breathing, or periods of no breathing (apnea)
- Lethargy (abnormal sleepiness)
- Poor feeding from breast or bottle
- Decreased or absent urination
- Bloated abdomen
- Vomiting yellowish material
- Extreme redness around the belly button
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty waking your infant or unusual sleepiness
- Jaundiced or overly pale skin
- Abnormally slow or fast heartbeat
- Bruising or bleeding
- Cool, clammy skin
Antibiotics can control dangerous bacteria in the mother. It will prevent the spread of bacteria during pregnancy or birth to the infant. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics if:
- The birth mother has previously given birth to an infant with neonatal sepsis.
- You have had a positive bacterial infection test before your due date.
- Breastfeeding may also help prevent sepsis in some infants.
- Follow steps to prevent premature labor or birth. This can include proper prenatal care, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and eating a healthy balanced diet.
Auckland (New Zealand) District Health Board http://www.adhb.govt.nz/newborn/Default.htm/
Minnesota Department of Health http://www.health.state.mn.us/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Sick Kids http://www.sickkids.ca/
Kleigman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2004.
Neonatal sepsis. EBSCO DynaMed Summary. Available at: http://dynamed101.ebscohost.com/Detail.aspx?id=116619 . Updated May 4, 2012. Accessed July 18, 2012.
Neonatal Sepsis. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/infections%5Fin%5Fneonates/neonatal%5Fsepsis.html . Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Reviewer: Kari Kassir, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013