OBJECTIVE - To determine whether vaginal preparation with povidone iodine before cesarean decreased the incidence of postpartum infectious morbidity.
METHODS - Participants were randomly assigned to vaginal preparation with povidone iodine (n = 247) or no preparation (n = 251). Postpartum infectious morbidity included fever, defined as temperature of 38C or greater after the day of surgery; endometritis, defined as fever with abdominal or uterine tenderness and initiation of intravenous antibiotics; and wound separation, defined as disruption of the abdominal incision that required wound care. We calculated overall rates of postpartum infectious morbidity, relative risks (RR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the effect of vaginal preparation. As designed and reported, the trial had at least 80% power to detect a 10% or greater absolute difference in rates of overall infectious morbidity, fever, and endometritis (two-tailed, alpha = 0.05).
RESULTS - There was no difference between groups in maternal age, parity, race, education, prior cesarean, type of anesthesia, labor before current cesarean, number of vaginal examinations during labor, internal monitoring, prophylactic antibiotic use, gestational age at delivery, or payment status. Excluding 68 women with chorioamnionitis, incidence of postoperative fever was 19.3%, endometritis 7.2%, and wound separation 7.0%. Vaginal preparation with povidone iodine before cesarean had no effect on risk for fever (RR 1.1, 95% CI 0.8, 1.6), endometritis (RR 1.6, 95% CI 0.8, 3.1), or wound separation (RR 0.6, 95% CI 0.3, 1.3).
CONCLUSION - Vaginal preparation with povidone iodine before cesarean had no effect on the incidence of fever, endometritis, or wound infection.