One hundred and three women who developed acute chorioamnionitis at 37 weeks' gestation or beyond were studied retrospectively. Clinical findings included fever (99.2%), fetal (82%) and maternal (19.4%) tachycardia, uterine tenderness (16.5%), and foul-smelling amniotic fluid (8.7%). Three of the 46 women who underwent cesarean section subsequently required addition of a second or third antibiotic for serious pelvic infection, whereas two had a subcutaneous wound infection requiring open drainage. Importantly, between zero and ten hours of the diagnosis of chorioamnionitis, a critical time interval where delivery impacted on neonatal infectious morbidity was not identified. Additionally, in the initial 24 hours after rupture of the fetal membranes there was no association between fetal, neonatal, or maternal complications versus duration of membrane rupture. These data suggest that immediate operative delivery of term gestations complicated by acute chorioamnionitis will not reduce neonatal morbidity. © 1985 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.