Thirty-nine patients with either premature labor and/or preterm premature ruptured membranes underwent transabdominal amniocentesis to enable the following amniotic fluid analyses to be performed: culture and sensitivity, Gram's stain, and glucose determination. All nine patients with intraamniotic infection had amniotic fluid glucose values less than 10 mg/dl. Three patients with amniotic fluid glucose levels less than 10 mg/dl but without chorioamnionitis were delivered of infants within 72 hours of admission. The mean amniotic fluid glucose level of patients with intraamniotic infection (5 +/- 2.4 mg/dl) was significantly lower than in those without intraamniotic infection (39.8 +/- 18.42 mg/dl). All patients with amniotic fluid glucose values less than 10 mg/dl had either bacteria and/or white blood cells on Gram's stain. Two patients without chorioamnionitis had white cells on Gram's stain and amniotic fluid glucose values greater than 10 mg/dl. It appears that amniotic fluid glucose is more sensitive and more specific than Gram's stain in the diagnosis of intraamniotic infection. All 12 patients with low amniotic fluid glucose values were delivered of infants within 72 hours as the result of either the presence of infection or the progression of labor.