Ways to prevent puerperal sepsis and reduce maternal mortality rates even in low-resource settings

Along with hemorrhage and hypertension, infection remains one of the most common causes of maternal mortality in developing nations (see related article Practical Advice on Preventing Maternal Death Due to Postpartum Hemorrhage on preventing maternal death due to post-partum hemorrhage).

Puerperal sepsis, defined as an infection of the genital tract acquired at the time of delivery or in the 2 weeks to 3 weeks following birth, accounts for approximately 15% of maternal deaths in India.1 Furthermore, some deaths attributed to hemorrhage may have infection at their root. These infections also lead to significant neonatal morbidity and mortality. This is all despite the advent of aseptic techniques and availability of antibiotic therapy, which has led to a significant decrease in maternal death from infection in developed countries.


“A two-pronged approach is needed—one focusing on issues with home delivery, and the other concentrating on infection control measures in healthcare facilities.”
-Jeffrey Chapa, MD


Numerous risk factors for puerperal sepsis have been identified, including...

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