10 Common Hospital-acquired Infections

Childbirth can present multiple opportunities for bacteria to infect the uterus. © Jack Hollingsworth/Corbis

Endometritis occurs when the inner lining of the uterus becomes inflamed due to infection. Like many of the other infections on this list, endometritis occurs when otherwise benign bacteria colonize a place where they aren't normally found, in this case, the uterus. Symptoms include fever and discharge.

Many of the procedures that accompany childbirth potentially allow passage of bacteria to the uterus. Sterile procedures, including thorough hand-washing and sterilization of all instruments used in exams are the primary line of defense. A cesarean section makes infection much more likely, so unnecessary c-sections are to be avoided. If one is necessary, or if labor is prolonged (which also increases risk of infection), using preventative antibiotics can hold off bacterial infection [source: Chongsomchai].