OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to evaluate the effectiveness of a risk-based intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis strategy for the prevention of early-onset neonatal group B streptococcal disease. STUDY DESIGN: Cases and controls were selected from infants born to women with one or more risk factors: preterm labor or rupture of membranes, prolonged rupture of membranes (>18 hours), fever during labor, or previous child with group B streptococcal disease. Cases were matched with controls by birth hospital and gestational age. Data abstracted from medical records were analyzed to estimate the effectiveness of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis. RESULTS: We analyzed data from 109 cases and 207 controls. Nineteen (17%) case versus 69 (33%) control mothers received an acceptable regimen of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis. In adjusted analyses, the effectiveness of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis was 86% (95% confidence interval, 66%-94%). When the first dose of antibiotics was given ≥2 hours before delivery, the effectiveness increased to 89% (95% confidence interval, 70%-96%); when it was given within 2 hours of delivery, the effectiveness was 71% (95% confidence interval, -8%-92%). Effectiveness was lowest in mothers with intrapartum fever (72%, 95% confidence interval, -9%-93%). On the basis of a 70% prevalence of maternal risk factors expected among cases in the absence of intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis, we estimate that the risk-based strategy could reduce early-onset group B streptococcal disease by 60%. CONCLUSIONS: The risk-based approach to intrapartum antibiotic prophylaxis is effective in preventing early-onset group B streptococcal disease. To achieve the maximum preventive effect, the first dose of antibiotics should be administered at least 2 hours before delivery.