Infection-related stillbirth: an update on current knowledge and strategies for prevention.
Introduction: Infections during pregnancy are a preventable public health concern globally, with the highest burden occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Despite clear interventions to reduce these infections, their impact on preventing stillbirths is unclear, with conflicting evidence.Areas covered: The purpose of this review is to discuss data regarding infectious causes of stillbirths, and interventions for the prevention and/or treatment of these infections. We discuss the limitations in evaluating the true effect of the interventions on stillbirths, and highlight the importance of preventing infections in the grand scheme of improving maternal and infant pregnancy outcomes. We used PubMed to identify relevant studies, reviews, and meta-analysis until January 2021.Expert opinion: Maternal infections during pregnancy, especially malaria and syphilis, are notable causes of stillbirth in low- and middle-income countries. Despite considerable global advocacy, there is scant recognition of the potential to reduce the burden of antepartum stillbirths related to infections. Reducing stillbirths overall must become an important indicator for quality of care and accountability, and progress must also be assessed by coverage of key interventions that impact stillbirths, which includes population-based screening, prevention and timely treatment of infections during pregnancy.
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