If you or someone you love is pregnant, take note-postsurgical infections can occur in an estimated 10% to 40% of women who deliver babies by Cesarean section (compared with an infection rate of 1% to 3% in women who deliver vaginally). To minimize infection risk, a mother undergoing a C-section has traditionally been given a dose of antibiotics, but not until after her baby is delivered and the umbilical cord clamped. This practice has been rooted in concerns that antibiotics given before delivery could get into the unborn baby's bloodstream and mask any infection the infant might have...or cause the baby to become antibiotic-resistant.

New guideline: Based on analysis of several large and recent studies, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) now recommends that all women having C-sections should receive a single dose of an antibiotic (such as cephalosporin) as a preventive within 60 minutes before surgery.

Reason: Predelivery antibiotics significantly reduced infection rates in mothers without presenting any increased risk to newborns.

Expectant moms: These are new suggestions from ACOG, so discuss presurgical antibiotic use with your obstetrician if you are planning to deliver by C-section.

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