Sepsis is an harmful infection that can develop in women during pregnancy or after delivery. Pregnancy is same for every women but it depends on how the women take care of themselves or what kind of health care they receive.

What is sepsis?Pregnant belly isolated against white background

It is a severe infection that can develop in pregnant women or women who have recently delivered baby or babies. During pregnancy, it is called maternal sepsis. If it develops within six weeks of delivery, it is called postpartum sepsis.

Sepsis, sometimes called “blood poisoning”, refers to complications caused by initial blood infection. Sepsis can cause changes in your mental state and widespread organ damage. The most severe sepsis is called ‘septic shock’, in which blood pressure falls to dangerously low levels and multiple organs can fail.

What are the symptoms of sepsis?

Sepsis develops very quickly. It is important to be aware of early warning signals of sepsis and seek medical attention because pregnant women or mums may appear well but may become ill very quickly.

During sepsis, immune system goes into overdrive, which releases chemicals into blood which results in infection and trigger inflammation. This inflammation leads to formation of blood clots and leaky blood vessels which blocks the blood flow to various organs.

The symptoms of sepsis are:

  • High temperature
  • Fast breathing or breathlessness
  • Shivering
  • Headache
  • Fast heart rate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Extreme sleepiness

The symptoms of severe sepsis i.e. septic shock are:

  • Restlessness
  • Decreased urination
  • Yellowing of skin (jaundice)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Spontaneous bleeding from your genital
  • Low blood pressure

How does sepsis occur?

Sepsis is a result of many complications. Few are given below:

  • Miscarriages or spontaneous abortions
  • Cesarean sections
  • Ruptured membranes
  • Infection due to vaginal delivery
  • Bacterial illness

Causes of septic shock:

  • Pneumonia
  • Abortions and miscarriages
  • Influenza
  • Weak immune system
  • Infections during labour and delivery

How could the child get sepsis?

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes bacteria make its baby feverway to child’s bloodstream. There stand a little chance of infecting a child who’s up to date with their vaccinations. That means the unvaccinated children are most susceptible to blood infections, particularly ageing between 2 months and 36 months when the immune system has not fully developed.

How is sepsis diagnosed and treated?

Sepsis can be treated in its early stages with antibiotics. Diagnosing sepsis is very challenging and difficult because pregnancy and delivery causes many changes in the body such as irregular heart rate, change in blood pressure etc.


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