Maternal Sepsis Week and Why it Matters

May 10, 2024

Sepsis Alliance launched Maternal Sepsis Day in 2019, hoping to bring additional awareness to a condition that causes 261,000 maternal deaths each year, worldwide. In 2020, the observance was expanded to include a whole week, to broaden the impact and provide additional opportunities to raise awareness.

In 2024, we are sharing awareness-raising materials and newsworthy stories, to help everybody better understand maternal and neonatal sepsis. This week, we’ll be sharing articles covering different facets of maternal and neonatal sepsis, all with real-world examples and actionable steps that you can take. Will you help us raise awareness this Maternal Sepsis Week?

Maternal sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency defined as organ dysfunction resulting from infection during pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, miscarriage, or the postpartum period. Neonatal sepsis describes sepsis in an infant’s first 28 days of life. The U.S. has the third highest rate of maternal mortality of all high-income countries, and between 2017 – 2019, 14.3% of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. were due to infection or sepsis. In the U.S., Black women are 3.3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, and American Indian and Alaskan Native women are 2.5 times more likely to die than white women. Learn more about the burden of maternal sepsis by clicking here to download our fact sheet.

Giving birth is not a health-neutral event. Sepsis Alliance is working to raise awareness of the risks, inform the public, and educate healthcare professionals to mitigate this threat. Establishing Maternal Sepsis Week, creating a variety of free, downloadable resources, and producing shareable education videos are just a few ways that Sepsis Alliance is raising awareness. In 2024, we are also offering the first Sepsis Alliance Symposium: Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis, to offer free education for healthcare professionals about the unique health needs of this population.

Each day this Maternal Sepsis Week, Sepsis Alliance is releasing articles focused on different aspects of maternal and neonatal sepsis.

  • Monday: Maternal Sepsis and Health Inequities
  • Tuesday: Maternal Sepsis and Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Wednesday: Maternal Sepsis and Neonatal Health: Shayla’s Story
  • Thursday: Maternal Sepsis and Maternity Care Deserts
  • Friday: Maternal Sepsis and Advocating for Yourself: How I am Preparing for Birth
  • Saturday: Maternal Sepsis Week – What Next?

Ready to help us raise awareness this Maternal Sepsis Week? Make sure you are following us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, X, LinkedIn, Threads) and sharing our posts with your network. You can also read and share our articles throughout the week, and take the actions suggested in many of the articles. Even if you are not a birthing person, you can take many of these actions on behalf of birthing people and their infants.

By raising awareness, we can all help people recognize, diagnose, and treat sepsis faster, saving lives. You can help make a difference!



Three Maternal Sepsis Survivors Share Their Stories:


Amanda’s Story

Kayleigh’s Story

Maile’s Story