What are the symptoms of childbed fever?

Possible symptoms of childbed fever1

  • Headache, feeling generally unwell2
  • Sore throat
  • Raised temperature (over 38°C is a fever)
  • Fast pulse (over 100 beats per minute)
  • Fast breathing
  • Offensive vaginal discharge
  • Rash
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
  • Abdominal/leg pains

Childbed fever can strike down any new mother, irrespective of age, fitness or health.

Fever is an obvious sign of infection, but not everyone who develops septicaemia has a temperature, so it is important to look at all of the symptoms as a whole.

If you have two or more of these symptoms, especially if they are getting worse, or if you are in any doubt, please call your GP or midwife, or go to hospital immediately. Remember, the infection can get worse in hours, not days.

Childbed fever: the facts
Information for health professionals

You should not rely on this information as medical advice or a diagnosis. If you are in any doubt, it is imperative that you seek professional diagnosis from a doctor.

  1. two or more symptoms may be an indication & must be checked by a doctor
  2. i.e. not 'just tired'

What is childbed fever?

Childbed fever is an infection of the womb in new mothers which can lead to septicaemia. If left untreated infection will cause organ failure and death - even in young, fit mothers.
What are the symptoms? »
Childbed fever: the facts »

What's the aim?

We would like every parent and every midwife and doctor to know that childbed fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life.
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Can I help? »

Who is Jessica?

Jessica Palmer was a Mum. She died in June 2004, at 34 years old, of childbed fever caused by Group A streptococcus.
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This website contains general information about childbed fever. The information is not complete or comprehensive. You should not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about childbed fever (or any other medical condition) you should consult your doctor or other healthcare provider; and if you think you may be suffering from childbed fever (or any other medical condition) you should seek immediately medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.