Despite being highly preventable, maternal sepsis continues to be a major cause of death for pregnant or recently pregnant women around the world. Pregnancy-related infections and sepsis are the third most common cause of maternal deaths and the underlying cause of 15% of all maternal deaths.
Maternal infections during pregnancy, also known as prenatal infections, can increase the risk of a preterm birth, and for serious heath complications in the newborn. Complications can include specific organ damage, developmental delay, and even death. Some prenatal infections can be tested for and treated, or steps can be taken to help prevent the spread of the infection from mother to child during pregnancy and labor.