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Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Volume 2012, Article ID 157159, 12 pages
Review Article

Antimicrobials for Preterm Birth Prevention: An Overview

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1700 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35223, USA
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Women and Infants Center, 1700 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35223, USA

Received 2 June 2011; Accepted 21 November 2011

Academic Editor: Joseph Hwang

Copyright © 2012 Akila Subramaniam et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. Preterm birth (PTB) remains a major cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. The association between PTB and infection is clear. The purpose of this report is to present a focused review of information on the use of antibiotics to prevent PTB. Methods. We performed a search of the PubMed database restricted to clinical trials or meta-analyses published in English from 1990 through May 2011 using keywords “antibiotics or antimicrobials” and “preterm.” Results. The search yielded 67 abstracts for review. We selected 31 clinical trials (n=26) or meta-analysis (n=5) for further full-text review. Discussion of each eligible clinical trial, its specific inclusion criteria, antibiotic regimen used, and study results are presented. Overall, trials evaluating antibiotic treatment to prevent preterm birth have yielded mixed results regarding any benefit. Conclusion. Routine antibiotic prophylaxis is not recommended for prevention of preterm birth.