Antibiotic Use Without Indication During Delivery Hospitalizations in the United States

Obstet Gynecol. 2019 Oct;134(4):718-725. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003485.


Objective: To analyze trends in unindicated antibiotic use during vaginal delivery hospitalization.

Methods: This study used an administrative database to analyze antibiotic use during delivery hospitalizations from January 2006 to March 2015. Women were classified by mode of delivery and whether they had an evidence-based indication for antibiotics. Indications for antibiotics included preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM), cesarean delivery, group B streptococcus (GBS) colonization, chorioamnionitis, endometritis, urinary tract infections, and other infections. The Cochran-Armitage test was used to assess trends of antibiotic administration. Unadjusted and adjusted analyses for antibiotic receipt including demographic, hospital, and obstetric and medical factors were performed with unadjusted and adjusted risk ratios (RRs) with 95% CIs as measures of association.

Results: A total of 5,536,756 delivery hospitalizations, including 2,872,286 vaginal deliveries without an indication for antibiotics, were analyzed. The most common indication for antibiotics was cesarean delivery (33.6% of the entire cohort), followed by GBS colonization (15.8%), chorioamnionitis (1.7%), preterm PROM (1.6%), endometritis (1.2%), urinary tract infections (0.6%), and other infections (total less than 0.5%). The proportion of women receiving unindicated antibiotics decreased 44.4%, from 38.1% in 2006 to 21.2% in 2015. Adjusted risk for receipt of unindicated antibiotics was lower in 2015 vs 2006 (adjusted RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.55-0.57).

Conclusion: Use of antibiotics during vaginal delivery hospitalizations without an indication for antibiotic use declined significantly based on an analysis of a large administrative data set.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis / trends*
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / trends*
  • United States