Epidemiology of and surveillance for postpartum infections

Emerg Infect Dis. 2001 Sep-Oct;7(5):837-41. doi: 10.3201/eid0705.010511.


We screened automated ambulatory medical records, hospital and emergency room claims, and pharmacy records of 2,826 health maintenance organization (HMO) members who gave birth over a 30-month period. Full-text ambulatory records were reviewed for the 30-day postpartum period to confirm infection status for a weighted sample of cases. The overall postpartum infection rate was 6.0%, with rates of 7.4% following cesarean section and 5.5% following vaginal delivery. Rehospitalization; cesarean delivery; antistaphylococcal antibiotics; diagnosis codes for mastitis, endometritis, and wound infection; and ambulatory blood or wound cultures were important predictors of infection. Use of automated information routinely collected by HMOs and insurers allows efficient identification of postpartum infections not detected by conventional surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects
  • Delivery, Obstetric / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Pharmacies
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Pregnancy
  • Puerperal Infection / diagnosis
  • Puerperal Infection / epidemiology*
  • Puerperal Infection / therapy