Neonatal sepsis is a bacterial infection in the blood. It is found in infants during the first month of life. This may become a serious condition. If you suspect your baby has this condition, contact your doctor right away.
The cause relates to the baby being exposed to bacteria. Early onset sepsis that develops within the first week is from the mother (via the placenta or from passing through the birth canal). Late onset sepsis that develops after one week is from the caregiving environment. Intrapartum antibiotics have been successful in preventing early onset bacterial sepsis.
Some factors related to your pregnancy or health also add to the chance that your baby can get this condition:
Labor complications resulting in traumatic or
Water has broken more than 18 hours prior to giving birth
Fever or other infection while you are in labor
Need for a catheter for a long time while you are pregnant
The following factors increase your child’s chance of developing neonatal sepsis:
Baby is born more than three weeks before your due date (premature)
Going into labor more than three weeks before your due date
Baby is in distress before being born
Baby has a very low birth weight
Baby has a bowel movement before being born, and fetal stool is in the uterus
Amniotic fluid surrounding the baby has a bad smell, or the baby has a bad smell right after being born
Male babies are at greater risk for neonatal sepsis than female babies.
In most cases, symptoms are present within 24 hours of birth. In almost all cases, they will be present within 48 hours of birth. If your baby has any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to neonatal sepsis. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. However, if your baby does have any one of them, see your doctor.
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. Treatment depends on how severe the condition is. Treatment may last 2-21 days. In general, neonates suspected of sepsis are hospitalized for at least two days to wait for culture results.
A well-appearing infant may be monitored without antibiotics. The infant is
when cultures are negative. Culture-proven sepsis is treated for 7-21 days, depending on the location of the infection.
Treatment options include:
Antibiotic medication may have to be given intravenously (IV).
The baby may need to receive fluids, glucose, and electrolytes through an IV.
The baby may need to be given
or have help with his ventilation (breathing).
To reduce your baby’s chance of getting neonatal sepsis, your doctor may take the following steps:
If you have given birth to a baby with neonatal sepsis before, your doctor may give you antibiotics close to your due date. This can kill dangerous bacteria in the birth canal before the baby is exposed to it.
The doctor can test you for the bacteria before your due date and give you antibiotics to get rid of it if needed.
Breastfeeding may also help prevent sepsis in some infants.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a