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Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Apr;133(4):707-711. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003153.

Incorporating Precesarean Vaginal Preparation Into Standard of Care for Obstetrics.

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Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York.


Postoperative infections remain a serious concern after cesarean delivery, the most common major surgical procedure in the United States. Multiple strategies have been proposed to combat this problem, including the addition of azithromycin to the standard preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis. However, as obstetricians, we have failed to uniformly adopt precesarean vaginal preparation despite convincing evidence from randomized controlled trials that this technique reduces postoperative rates of endometritis by more than 50%. This reduction is similar to that seen with the addition of azithromycin. Vaginal preparation with povidone-iodine solution may target the same genital pathogens as azithromycin, which are commonly implicated in endometritis, a polymicrobial infection that may be under-addressed by our current antiseptic techniques. A recent review of maternal-fetal medicine fellows' practices at the time of cesarean delivery and recent publications on precesarean vaginal cleansing suggest that this practice has not yet gained hold in the United States.

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