Sepsis and Pregnancy: Know Possible Complications Of Maternal Sepsis

Sepsis during pregnancy is an overlooked condition which can cause serious complications for both mother and child.

Written by: Chanchal Sengar Updated at: 2023-01-05 09:30

Maternal sepsis is life-threatening that is caused during pregnancy, delivery, puerperium, or after an abortion which is also defined as organ dysfunction. As told by Dr. Vijaya Manohar, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Koramangala Bangalore, undetected maternal infections can cause death, disability for the mother, and an increased likelihood of neonatal infection and adverse outcomes in the future. Some of the infections do not result in the loss of pregnancy but on the other hand, they cause low birth weight and multiple organ systems in the baby.

What is maternal sepsis?

Sepsis is the body's extreme reaction to the infection that triggers a chain reaction of issues. These infections that can lead to the condition are UTI, lung, skin, and gastrointestinal Infection. Early detection or screening of these infections is vital for a woman who are pregnant and those who are planning pregnancy which can result in adverse outcomes and birth defects in children the future.

Common Infections that lead to a birth defect

Maternal sepsis can cause complications not only for the mother but also cause complications on the baby which include premature birth, fetal infections, and higher fetal mortality. 

Also Read: Importance Of Maternal Health Before & After Childbirth

Cytomegalovirus Infection (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus is also known as CMV infection which is common at the time of birth and increases the chance of having congenital CMV in the baby, the symptoms include enlargement of the liver and spleen, low birth weight, and seizures. These infections cause the baby to have long-term neurological problems that include hearing loss, vision loss, and developmental disorders.

Rubella Virus Infection

These infections occur during the first trimester and can lead to complications of miscarriage, premature death, and fetal death. Congenital rubella syndrome in children during birth may result in them having which are permanent neurological defects that cannot be treated in the future.

Herpesvirus Infection

Herpesvirus causes low birth weight defects, and prematurity and can result in pregnancy loss. If the herpes infection is not active at the time of delivery the chance of the baby getting the infection is minimal, and if the infections are active at the time of delivery the baby has to be delivered through cesarean section.

Also Read: 10 Most Common Birth Defects

Zika Virus

Zika virus is spread by the Aedes mosquitoes which are seen during the daylight, these can be transmitted to the baby if the mother is affected with Zika Virus as the risk of birth defects are 20 times higher in women with the virus. Zika virus in mother can result in birth defects including microcephaly and brain abnormalities. 

Prevention of infections 

aternal sepsis is those which are increasing the mortality rate; this can be only prevented by having proper hygiene and early treatment which can minimize the risk of minimal complications for both mother and the baby. The simple preventions that are common and should be kept in mind are:

Hygienic environment

Having a clean and hygienic environment is essential to prevent infection during pregnancy. Making sure of hand hygiene will lead to preventing infection. Using an alcohol hand rub will help in the minimal contact of the bacteria.

Sterilization of medical tools

Sterilization of medical tools helps in preventing infections as they are used in vaginal examinations. Some of the medical tools should be steam-sterilized as these equipment are heat sensitive, these are sterilized to disinfect the bacteria so they won't affect the mother and the baby in the long run.


Pregnant women with physiological and immunological complications are more susceptible to these infections. Early detection of this infection prevents the baby from having any neurological symptoms in the future. Sepsis treatment should be initiated as soon as possible by medical experts to improve the patient's prognosis and reduce mortality and increase the survival odds.


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