Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Antibiotics to Treat and Prevent Infection During Preterm Labor

    Antibiotics to Treat and Prevent Infection During Preterm Labor

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    During preterm labor, antibiotics may be used to treat or prevent an infection.

    Treatment with antibiotics

    If an infection is causing your preterm labor, you will be treated with antibiotics . The type used depends on which bacteria are causing the infection. The antibiotics most commonly used during pregnancy include erythromycin, clindamycin, ampicillin, gentamicin, and metronidazole.

    Antibiotics don't always clear up uterine infection. And they don't always prevent preterm labor . If a mother's uterus has become infected and her fetus is mature enough, her doctor or nurse-midwife might not try to delay the birth.

    Prevention with antibiotics after pPROM

    Preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM) means that your water breaks (rupture of the amniotic sac) before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. When given to women with pPROM, antibiotics may: footnote 1

    • Increase time from pPROM to delivery.
    • Lower the risk of infection in the vagina and uterus.
    • Lower the risk of fetal infection.

    Prevention with antibiotics with intact membranes

    Antibiotics are not a recommended treatment for women in preterm labor with intact membranes. (This means the amniotic sac has not ruptured.) But some women do get antibiotics to prevent or treat group B strep .

    Related Information



    1. Haas DM (2011). Preterm birth, search date June 2010. BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine

    Current as ofMay 30, 2016

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

    © 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.