Sepsis & Serious Infection

Sepsis & Serious Infection


Infection in pregnancy and or after delivery should never be taken lightly; in rare circumstances even when healthy you can become critically ill very quickly from serious infection or sepsis.


Sepsis is a severe infection which affects the entire body, the first signs are usually a rise in your temperature, heart rate and breathing, you may also feel unwell, have chills and flu-type symptoms, tummy pains, vomiting and diarrhoea. This can progress very quickly in rare circumstances to a potentially life threatening condition.


Sepsis in pregnancy most commonly occurs between December and April often preceded by a sore throat or other upper respiratory tract infections. Sepsis may happen in any stage of pregnancy or after your baby is born.

The risk of getting an infection is increased in the following circumstances:
• Post birth is the most common period for serious septic illness to develop; in particular if your baby was delivered by caesarean section or by forceps / vacuum, or if you had third degree tears, (large tears to your perineum).
• After having a miscarriage and / or termination of pregnancy/ D/C.
• If you had a preterm birth.
• If the water from around your baby is leaking or has been leaking for more than 24 hours.
• If you develop a urinary tract infection.

However sepsis can occur in rare exceptions even when you are healthy, have healthy pregnancies and have a normal vaginal birth.

How can sepsis in pregnancy be prevented?
These measures may prevent infection that could lead to sepsis:
• Good personal hygiene.
• Daily showers or baths.
• Proper hand washing and drying.
• Perineal hygiene to include keeping the perineal area clean and dry.
• Frequent maternity pad changes.

You should pay special attention to washing your hands before and after using the toilet and/ or changing your maternity pads if:
• You have a sore throat.
• If you have children who have sore throats or you are in contact with children who have sore throats.

Be aware of all risk factors for infection
You should contact your G.P. or the maternity unit immediately if you feel concerned, unwell and/or if you notice any of the following during pregnancy or after your baby is born:

1. Sore throat, chest infection.
2. Urinary tract infections, pain/ burning when passing urine.
3. Genital tract infection (vaginal/ uterine infection) leading to vaginal discharge which may be foul smelling and/ or an unusual change in colour.
4. Abdominal pain.
5. Sudden increase in vaginal bleeding postnatally.
6. Chills, flu type symptoms.
7. Vomiting and /or Diarrhoea.
8. After a caesarean section if your scar becomes red and painful

Complete any course of antibiotics that you are prescribed during pregnancy and the post natal period. This may also prevent more serious infection developing.


Contact: Maternity Unit
Tel: (091) 54 4551 (091) 54 4225/4226 (091) 54 4219/4619

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