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July 16, 1997

Amniotic Fluid Infection and Cerebral PalsyFocus on the Fetus

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington, Seattle.

JAMA. 1997;278(3):247-248. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550030087041

There are no new truths, but only truths that have not been recognized by those who have perceived them without noticing.

Mary McCarthy, On the Contrary

Amniotic fluid infection was for a long time represented primarily as an infection in the mother. The truth, which was not recognized until recently, is that amniotic fluid infection may be primarily an infection of the fetus. Historically, we assumed that a fever or other clinical signs of infection in the pregnant mother indicated that she was infected. It is becoming increasingly clear that the fetus becomes infected and develops an inflammatory response, possibly before the mother. Further, infection of amniotic fluid usually involves the fetus itself; this is not simply infection of only amniotic fluid or the fetal chorioamnion portion of placental membranes.

See also p 207.

What recent evidence supports the idea that amniotic fluid infection is primarily fetal? Polymorphonuclear leukocytes in