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J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2017 May-Jun;22(3):227-232. doi: 10.5863/1551-6776-22.3.227.

Effect of Maternal Obesity on Maternal-Fetal Transfer of Preoperative Cefazolin at Cesarean Section.



American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends a single dose of antibiotic prophylaxis before all cesarean sections (C/S). This recommendation is based on pharmacokinetic studies that include only non-obese patients. We sought to evaluate 1) cefazolin plasma concentrations among obese and non-obese patients after administration of a 2-g cefazolin dose for prevention of surgical wound infections, and 2) whether cefazolin concentration in fetal circulation may be protective against pathogens that cause early onset neonatal sepsis.


Maternal and fetal cefazolin plasma concentrations were compared between obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30 kg/m2) and non-obese (BMI < 25 kg/m2) healthy, term pregnant women undergoing scheduled C/S. Liquid chromatographic-tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS/MS) methods were used for quantification of total and free cefazolin concentrations in maternal blood (MB) and umbilical cord blood (UCB).


Eight women were screened and consented. There was no difference between groups in MB total and free cefazolin concentrations. All MB samples had total and free cefazolin concentrations greater than the minimum inhibitory concentration 90 (MIC90) for Group B Streptococcus (GBS), Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. All UCB samples had total and free cefazolin concentrations greater than MIC90 for GBS and S aureus, even when administered as briefly as 18 minutes before delivery. A lower concentration of total cefazolin was detected in UCB of neonates of obese women compared to non-obese women (p > 0.05).


Administration of 2 g of cefazolin to women undergoing scheduled C/S might be an adequate prophylactic dose for surgical wound infection in both non-obese and obese patients; and cefazolin concentration in fetal circulation may be protective against GBS and S aureus.


antibiotic prophylaxis; cefazolin; obesity; pregnancy; surgical wound infection

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors declare no conflicts or financial interest in any product or service mentioned in the manuscript, including grants, equipment, medications, employment, gifts, and honoraria. The authors had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

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