Most pregnancy-related infections are caused by four treatable conditions

In low-and-middle income countries, pregnancy-related infections are a major cause of maternal death, can also be fatal to unborn and newborn babies, and are mostly caused by four types of conditions that are treatable and preventable, according to a review by US researchers published in this week's PLOS Medicine.

The authors, led by Michael Gravett and a team of investigators from the University of Washington in Seattle, PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), and GAPPS (Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth, Seattle Children's) reviewed all published studies with information about maternal infections, paying particular attention to studies from Africa and Asia (where most—80%—of global occur), in order to identify appropriate strategies for detecting infections and providing effective interventions. They found that most life-threatening pregnancy-related infections are caused by infections of the genital tract, urinary tract, , and infections related to abortion.

The authors recommend that interventions targeting each type of infection be integrated into antenatal care services, especially at the first visit and also at the onset of labor. They also advocate for affordable diagnostic tests and treatment to be provided to pregnant women at the clinic on the one visit (point-of-care), and for improved data collection on the types of organisms causing pregnancy-related infections.

The authors say: "Our review identified four clinical syndromes, and microbes associated with them, that appear to be responsible for most cases of life-threatening pregnancy related infections in low-and-middle-income countries."

They continue: "Each of these occurs at a distinct time during pregnancy, providing opportunities for screening and prevention."

The authors add: "There is a great need for comprehensive studies in low-and- exploring the epidemiology, risk factors, and microbiology of life-threatening maternal infections."

They conclude: "Without such data, women will continue to be treated inappropriately and experience potentially preventable mortality and morbidity."

More information: Gravett CA, Gravett MG, Martin ET, Bernson JD, Khan S, et al. (2012) Serious and Life-Threatening Pregnancy-Related Infections: Opportunities to Reduce the Global Burden. PLoS Med 9(10): e1001324. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001324

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Huge proportion of maternal deaths worldwide are preventable

Feb 19, 2008

A study published in PLoS Medicine this week suggests that of women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in sub-Saharan Africa, more may die from treatable infectious diseases than from conditions directly linked to pre ...

Alternative strategies to reduce maternal mortality in India

Apr 20, 2010

A study by Sue J. Goldie and colleagues from the Harvard School of Public Health published this week in PLoS Medicine finds that better family planning, provision of safe abortion, and improved intrapartum and emergency obstet ...

Maternal deaths cut by half: UN

May 16, 2012

Better care has cut the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth by nearly half in the past two decades, but there is still a death every two minutes, according to UN figures released Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

12 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

13 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

15 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

16 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.