Bacterial contamination of the operative site is a common occurrence in obstetrics and gynecology. The widespread use of antibiotic prophylaxis has reduced but not eliminated serious postoperative infections. For most operations, a single dose of a limited-spectrum drug has been as effective as a multidose regimen. In the differential diagnosis it is important to consider cellulitis, abscess, necrotizing fasciitis and septic pelvic thrombophlebitis. Abscess and necrotizing fasciitis are expected to require invasive therapy in addition to antibiotics, while cellulitis and septic pelvic thrombophlebitis should respond to medical management alone. Although a postoperative fever is a warning sign of possible infection, it may also be caused by the antibiotics that are given for treatment. The use of prolonged courses of antibiotics once the patient is clinically well is discouraged. While clinical guidelines are provided for use in the diagnosis and management of postoperative infections, these recommendations are intended for general direction and not as an exclusive management plan.