Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Pregnancy-related infections are important contributors to maternal sepsis and mortality. We aimed to describe clinical, microbiological characteristics and use of antibiotics by source of infection and country income, among hospitalized women with suspected or confirmed pregnancy-related infections. METHODS: We used data from WHO Global Maternal Sepsis Study (GLOSS) on maternal infections in hospitalized women, in 52 low-middle- and high-income countries conducted between November 28th and December 4th, 2017, to describe the frequencies and medians of maternal demographic, obstetric, and clinical characteristics and outcomes, methods of infection diagnosis and causative pathogens, of single source pregnancy-related infection, other than breast, and initial use of therapeutic antibiotics. We included 1456 women. RESULTS: We found infections of the genital (n = 745/1456, 51.2%) and the urinary tracts (UTI) (n = 531/1456, 36.5%) to be the most frequent. UTI (n = 339/531, 63.8%) and post-caesarean skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) (n = 99/180, 55.0%) were the sources with more culture samples taken and microbiological confirmations. Escherichia coli was the major uropathogen (n = 103/118, 87.3%) and Staphylococcus aureus (n = 21/44, 47.7%) was the commonest pathogen in SSTI. For 13.1% (n = 191) of women, antibiotics were not prescribed on the same day of infection suspicion. Cephalosporins (n = 283/531, 53.3%) were the commonest antibiotic class prescribed for UTI, while metronidazole (n = 303/925, 32.8%) was the most prescribed for all other sources. Ceftriaxone with metronidazole was the commonest combination for the genital tract (n = 98/745, 13.2%) and SSTI (n = 22/180, 12.2%). Metronidazole (n = 137/235, 58.3%) was the most prescribed antibiotic in low-income countries while cephalosporins and co-amoxiclav (n = 129/186, 69.4%) were more commonly prescribed in high-income countries. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in antibiotics used across countries could be due to availability, local guidelines, prescribing culture, cost, and access to microbiology laboratory, despite having found similar sources and pathogens as previous studies. Better dissemination of recommendations in line with antimicrobial stewardship programmes might improve antibiotic prescription.

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob

Publication Date





Antibiotic, Infections, Maternal morbidity, Maternal sepsis, Pregnancy, Female, Humans, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Metronidazole, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Cephalosporins, World Health Organization, Urinary Tract Infections