Top 10 Pearls for the Recognition, Evaluation, and Management of Maternal Sepsis

Andrea Shields, Viviana de Assis, Torre Halscott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Maternal sepsis is an obstetric emergency and a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality. Early recognition in a pregnant or postpartum patient can be a challenge as the normal physiologic changes of pregnancy may mask the signs and symptoms of sepsis. Bedside assessment tools may aid in the detection of maternal sepsis. Timely and targeted antibiotic therapy and fluid resuscitation are critical for survival in patients with suspected sepsis. Once diagnosed, a search for etiologies and early application of source control measures will further reduce harms. If the patient is in septic shock or not responding to initial treatment, multidisciplinary consultation and escalation of care is necessary. Health care professionals should be aware of the unique complications of sepsis in critically ill pregnant and postpartum patients, and measures to prevent poor outcomes in this population. Adverse pregnancy outcomes may occur in association with sepsis, and should be anticipated and prevented when possible, or managed appropriately when they occur. Using a standardized approach to the patient with suspected sepsis may reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-304
Number of pages16
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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