Chlorhexidine vaginal preparation versus standard treatment at caesarean section to reduce endometritis and prevent sepsis-a feasibility study protocol (the PREPS trial)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • Birmingham Women's and Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • 2Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit, Institute of Applied Health Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK.
  • Birmingham City University
  • 1Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT UK.


Background: Worldwide caesarean section (CS) delivery is the most common major operation. Approximately 25% of pregnant women undergo a CS in the UK for delivery of their babies. Sepsis and post-natal infection constitute significant maternal mortality and morbidity. Infection following a CS has a number of primary sources including endometritis occurring in 7-17% of women. Sepsis reduction and reduction in antibiotic use have been identified as a national and international priority. The overarching aim of this research is to reduce infectious morbidity from caesarean sections.

Methods: This is a parallel group feasibility randomised controlled trial comparing vaginal cleansing using chlorhexidine gluconate versus no cleansing (standard practice) at CS to reduce infection. Women will be recruited from four National Health Service maternity units. Two hundred fifty women (125 in each arm) undergoing elective or emergency CS, who are aged 16 years and above, and at least 34 weeks pregnant will be randomised. Allocation to treatment will be on a 1:1 ratio. The study includes a qualitative aspect to develop women centred outcomes of wellbeing after delivery.

Discussion: The success of the feasibility study will be assessed by criteria related to the feasibility measurements to ascertain if a larger study is feasible in its current format, needs modification or is unfeasible, and includes recruitment, adherence, follow-up and withdrawal measures.

Trial registration: The PREPS trial has been registered with ISRCTN (ISRCTN 33435996).


Original languageEnglish
Article number84
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2018


  • Caesarean section, Chlorhexidine, Endometritis, Sepsis, Post-natal infection, Vaginal cleansing, Feasibility