This guideline covers preventing infection within 72 hours of birth in healthy babies, treating pregnant women whose baby is at risk, and caring for babies who have a suspected or confirmed infection. It aims to reduce delays in recognising and treating sick babies and prevent unnecessary use of antibiotics.

Recommendations

This guideline includes recommendations on:

Who is it for?

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Commissioners and providers
  • Pregnant women and their families and carers

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in January 2017 and we are updating the recommendations on:

  • risk factors for infection and clinical indicators of possible infection
  • intrapartum antibiotics

We are adding a new area on maternal group B streptococcus status to guide the decision on timing of delivery in women with preterm prelabour rupture of membranes. We are also extending the scope to cover antibiotic treatment for late-onset neonatal infection.

See the guideline in development page for progress on the update.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This guideline was previously called antibiotics for early-onset neonatal infection: antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of early-onset neonatal infection.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.


Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)