Childbed fever: history repeats itself?

W. J. Graham*, S. J. Dancer, I. M. Gould, W. Stones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals is provoking many reflective exercises. This special issue of BJOG on women's health is one such contribution, encompassing both optimism and pessimism for the future. The title for our commentary captures this duality: history repeating itself can indeed be good or bad news. The phrase is used here to highlight the risks of healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) for women, and particularly for mothers and newborns. Throughout history there have been many moments when the balance has shifted between health benefit and health risk. Now that more of the world's annual 143 million births occur in institutions than at home, we have reached a tipping point regarding the risk of HCAIs. Strengthening infection prevention represents an opportunity to ensure that the balance swings towards a benefit for all mothers and newborns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-159
Number of pages4
JournalBJOG-An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
Early online date26 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

No funding was received to prepare this Commentary.

The authors acknowledge support for the literature searches and discussions informing the commentary from Suzanne Cross, Giorgia Gon, and Susannah Woodd (


  • preventable maternal deaths
  • infection
  • metaanalysis
  • mortality
  • Africa


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