Maternal Sepsis Module 2

Module Description:

Maternal sepsis is a life-threatening medical emergency defined as organ dysfunction resulting from infection during pregnancy, childbirth, post-abortion, miscarriage, or the postpartum period. Maternal sepsis takes the lives of 261,000 women worldwide every year. In the United States, sepsis or infection is the third leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. Healthcare providers need to know the signs and symptoms of maternal sepsis, as well as how to screen for sepsis early and initiate treatment. This training module describes the unique physiology during and following pregnancy and challenges to identify and manage maternal sepsis. Strategies to recognize and treat maternal sepsis in the emergency department, floor, critical care, and obstetrical units will be presented. The personal experience of a maternal sepsis survivor will be shared. To prevent infections that can lead to sepsis, it is critical to provide medical care immediately. Fast recognition and treatment of sepsis is key to increasing mothers' chances of survival. 


Target Audience

Emergency room physicians, family practice physicians, obstetricians, internal medicine physicians, intensivists, hospitalists, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, emergency room nurses, floor nurses, critical care nurses, obstetric nurses, midwives, doulas, and all healthcare staff that provide care to women from conception through the postpartum period. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of the training module, the learner should be able to: 

  • Discuss the national and global issue of mortality and morbidity surrounding maternal sepsis; 
  • Define maternal sepsis; 
  • Describe physiologic changes during pregnancy as it relates to sepsis;
  • Explain key challenges related to identification and treatment of maternal sepsis;
  • Identify the risk factors for maternal sepsis;
  • Restate treatment recommendations for maternal sepsis;
  • List screening and protocols specific to maternal sepsis;
  • Describe the algorithm for a perinatal screening program. 
Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Ashlesha Dayal, MD

Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Ashlesha K. Dayal is a Maternal Federal Medicine specialist, Director of Obstetrics at New York Presbyterian/ Queens, in Flushing, NY and an Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College. She focuses her clinical efforts on maternal safety, patient safety, and decreasing perinatal morbidity, particularly in the labor and delivery setting. Dr. Dayal has been on the Preterm Birth Task Force, the 17P Committee, and serves as the Chair of Section 3 of District 2 of ACOG. She is now the Director of Obstetrics at New York Presbyterian/ Queens and is the residency site director for the Weill Cornell ObGyn Residency Training Program for NYP Queens Hospital. Dr. Dayal serves on the Sepsis Taskforce for District 2 and the Postpartum Task Force for the District. Dt. Dayal received her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine from the Six Year BA/ MD Program, and completed her residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY. She completed her fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, NY. 

Loralei L. Thornburg, MD

Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester Medical Center

Dr. Loralei L. Thornburg is a professor of OB/GYN at the University of Rochester, where she did both OB/GYN residency and Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship. She now serves as both the division and fellowship director. A native of western Michigan, she went to medical school at Wayne State in Detroit. She teaches annually at the SMFM/ Banner Obstetrical Critical Care course, including both lecture and simulation-- which focuses on optimizing care for pregnant patients with critical illnesses and events. She has the only neurology in pregnancy bool that includes a multidisciplinary authorship across the broad range of specialists needed to care for neurologic disease in pregnancy. She lives with her husband, and internist, as well as two children a leopard gecko, and a rabbit. 

Sandra Asanjarani, RNC-OB, MS, NPWH, C-EFM

Perinatal Safety Officer, New York Presbyterian/ Queens 

Sandra Asanjarani is the Perinatal Safety Nurse and the Team Leader for the Baby-Friendly Journey at New York Presbyterian/ Queens. She obtained her RN degree from Queensborough Community College, and her Bachelor of Science degree from Adelphi University. Sandra continued her studies and obtained her Nurse Practitioner in Women's Health and OB/GYN as well as her Perinatal Clinical Speciality Degree at Stony Brook University. Sandra holds multiple certifications in her field of expertise. Prior to working at NYP/ Queens, she worked as an Associate Director for Quality/ Safety and Risk Management at Jacobi Medical Center. She has worked in the field of maternal child as an administrator, labor and delivery nurse manager, perinatal informatics specialist, and a labor delivery nurse for over 25 years in both the private and public sectors. Sandra is a member of the Executive Board of Directors at the New York State Nurses Association and is on the March of Dimes Board of Directors for Queens. She recently published a chapter in a medical textbook with Dr. Daniel Skupski about Hypertensive Crisis in Pregnancy. She has received many awards for her expertise and knowledge. Her most recent award was in 2-19 for Advance Practice Nurse at New York Presbyterian/ Queens Hospital. 

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP17068 for 1.7 contact hours.

Other healthcare providers will receive a certificate of attendance for 1.25 contact hours.

Medical Disclaimer

The information on or available through this site is intended for educational purposes only. Sepsis Alliance does not represent or guarantee that information on or available through this site is applicable to any specific patient’s care or treatment. The educational content on or available through this site does not constitute medical advice from a physician and is not to be used as a substitute for treatment or advice from a practicing physician or other healthcare provider. Sepsis Alliance recommends users consult their physician or healthcare provider regarding any questions about whether the information on or available through this site might apply to their individual treatment or care.

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