One of the fatal diseases that are more likely to affect women is the septic shock, which is an infection that occurs as a result of sepsis or blood poisoning. Below is some in-depth detail about septic shock and the factors that you must watch for during pregnancy.

Septic Shock

Septic shock is an infection that leads to organ failures and fatally low blood pressure level. This life threatening condition is caused when the bacteria get into the body of the person, which probably occurs after a surgery or trauma. As per recent studies, septic shock is one of the ten dangerous diseases that cause death in the US.

Risk Factors

  • Severe kidney infection
  • Miscarriage as a result of uterine infection
  • Uterine infection
  • Amniotic sac infection
  • Abdominal infection


Septic shock is dangerous after-effect of sepsis, and hence, both diseases have almost similar symptoms. Below are the symptoms that you must watch for.

  • Disorientation and restlessness
  • Fatally low blood pressure
  • Severe fever; 103°F and above
  • Fast heart rate and hypotension
  • Hypothermia
  • Jaundice
  • Spontaneous bleeding from urinary tract
  • Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)


The main cause of septic shock is the bacteria called aerobic gram-negative bacilli, which is a rod-shaped bacterium. The main type of bacteria involved here are Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, and Proteus mirabilis.

Septic Shock during Pregnancy

Pregnant women are more prone to septic shock because of their hormonal imbalance and must consider immediate medical assistance if any sign of the infection is found. Below are some of the symptoms of this infection in pregnant women.

  • Pain and tenderness in the abdomen
  • Bloody or colored discharge in urine
  • Decreased urination

When the bacteria enter the bloodstream, it will cause severe damage to almost every vital organ of the body. The common reasons for septic shock in pregnant women include cesarean sections, pneumonia, infections during delivery, miscarriage, influenza, and a weak immune system.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The only way to diagnose septic shock is to conduct various laboratory tests such as:

  • Chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia and ARDS
  • Electrocardiograph for irregular heart rhythms
  • CT scan and MRI scan for infections
  • Blood tests

After the diagnosis, treatment of the health issues is conducted in three steps:

Blood Circulation

One of the main treatment methods is to maintain a proper blood circulation. For this, doctors usually monitor blood pressure, pulse, urine output, etc. Furthermore, dopamine is also given to some patients in order to improve blood flow to the heart and other major organs.


Antibiotics against bacteria are given in the second step. The common administered antibiotics are:

  • Penicillin or ampicillin
  • Gentamicin or Azactam
  • Clindamycin or metronidazole

Proper Care

Finally, proper care is given by providing cooling blankets, blood infusion, oxygen support system, etc. This supportive care is given as per the condition of each patient.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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