Antimicrobial prophylaxis administration after umbilical cord clamping in cesarean section and the risk of surgical site infection: a cohort study with 55,901 patients

Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2020 Dec 22;9(1):201. doi: 10.1186/s13756-020-00860-0.


Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends administration of surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis (SAP) in cesarean section prior to incision to prevent surgical site infections (SSI). This study aimed to determine whether SAP administration following cord clamping confers an increased SSI risk to the mother.

Methods: Study design: Cohort.

Setting: 75 participating Swiss hospitals, from 2009 to 2018.

Participants: A total of 55,901 patients were analyzed.

Main outcome measures: We assessed the association between SAP administration relative to incision and clamping and the SSI rate, using generalized linear multilevel models, adjusted for patient characteristics, procedural variables, and health-care system factors.

Results: SAP was administered before incision in 26'405 patients (47.2%) and after clamping in 29,496 patients (52.8%). Overall 846 SSIs were documented, of which 379 (1.6% [95% CI, 1.4-1.8%]) occurred before incision and 449 (1.7% [1.5-1.9%]) after clamping (p = 0.759). The adjusted odds ratio for SAP administration after clamping was not significantly associated with an increased SSI rate (1.14, 95% CI 0.96-1.36; p = 0.144) when compared to before incision. Supplementary and subgroup analyses supported these main results.

Conclusions: This study did not confirm an increased SSI risk for the mother in cesarean section if SAP is given after umbilical cord clamping compared to before incision.

Keywords: Cesarean section; Microbiome; Modelling; Obstetrics; Surgical antimicrobial prophylaxis; Surgical site infection.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibiotic Prophylaxis*
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Constriction
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control*
  • Time Factors
  • Umbilical Cord / surgery