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Pract Midwife. 2011 Apr;14(4):16-8.

Vigilance must be a priority: maternal genital tract sepsis.

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  • 1Kings College, London.


Although very rare in the UK, sepsis was the leading cause of direct maternal deaths during 2006-2008, with an increase in community acquired Group A streptococcal infection (CMACE 2011). Most deaths occurred in the postnatal period and were often preceded by a sore throat or other upper respiratory infection, with a clear seasonal pattern. An associated factor was women of BME origin (black or minority ethnic origin). More than half of the deaths followed birth by caesarean section. All antenatal and postnatal women should be offered advice on the signs and symptoms of life threatening conditions, including sepsis. Information should include the importance of good hand and perineal hygiene and of the need to seek immediate medical care if feeling unwell. Relevant NICE guidance should be disseminated and implemented as widely as possible. Greater priority should be given to ensuring all women, particularly those in the most vulnerable groups, are aware of how to access timely and appropriate care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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