Sexual and reproductive health

Statement on maternal sepsis

Authors:
WHO

Front cover

Publication details

Number of pages: 4
Publication date: 2017
Languages: English
WHO reference number: WHO/RHR/17.02

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Sepsis: a leading cause of maternal deaths
Strategic approaches to reduce maternal mortality in the past 15 years have mainly focused on clinical interventions and health system strengthening. The greatest attention has been on postpartum haemorrhage and hypertensive disorders, the two leading direct causes of maternal mortality. Further reducing maternal deaths is a priority for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, implementing the UN Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health and critical for the Strategies toward Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM). However, the third most common direct cause of maternal mortality, maternal sepsis, received less attention, research and programming. Undetected or poorly managed maternal infections can lead to sepsis, death or disability for the mother and increased likelihood of early neonatal infection and other adverse outcomes.