The significance of peripartum fever in women undergoing vaginal deliveries Academic Article uri icon


  • We investigated whether patients undergoing vaginal delivery who developed peripartum fever (PPF) had increased rates of other gestational complications. A retrospective study was undertaken comparing pregnancy complications of patients who developed PPF with those who did not. A multivariable logistic regression model was constructed to control for confounders. To avoid ascertainment bias, the year of birth was included in the model. Women who underwent cesarean delivery and those with multiple pregnancies were excluded from the study. During the study period, there were 169,738 singleton vaginal deliveries, and 0.4% of the women suffered from PPF. Hypertensive disorders, induction of labor, dystocia of labor in the second stage, suspected fetal distress, meconium-stained amniotic fluid, postpartum hemorrhage, manual lysis of a retained placenta, and revision of the uterine cavity and cervix were found to be independently associated with PPF by multivariable analysis. Year of birth was found to be a risk factor for fever. Apgar scores lower than 7 at 1 but not 5 minutes were significantly higher in the PPF group. Perinatal mortality rates were significantly higher among women with PPF (6.7% versus 1.3%, odds ratio [OR] = 5.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.9 to 7.3; P < 0.001). Using another multivariable analysis, with perinatal mortality as the outcome variable, PPF was found as an independent risk factor for perinatal mortality (OR = 2.9; 95% CI 1.9 to 4.6; P < 0.001). PPF in women undergoing vaginal deliveries is associated with adverse perinatal outcomes and specifically is an independent risk factor for perinatal mortality.

publication date

  • January 1, 2008