Fever in pregnancy and its maternal and fetal outcomes

Vibha S. More


Background: Contemporary obstetrics has witnessed improved maternal and fetal outcomes, owing to several advances. Any source of maternal hyperthermia that results in significant core temperature increase (>38.9°C), could potentially affect the fetus.  Hence a study was planned to know the effect of fever on maternal and fetal outcome.

Methods: This was a retrospective cohort analysis of case-records, of patients admitted in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at tertiary care centre, Mumbai, between May 2007 and October 2009. The main parameters of assessment included incidence of fever in pregnancy, causes of fever, effect of episode(s) of fever on maternal and fetal outcomes, effect of specific infection on maternal and fetal outcomes, impact of fever on antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum phases

Results: The incidence of fever was 10.5%. the common cause of fever was malaria (15%), urinary tract infection (14%), viral (14%), respiratory tract infection (18%), and typhoid (7%). Seventy eight percent had fever in third trimester. The most common antenatal complication observed was preterm (13%), premature rupture of membrane (12%), oligohydramnios (8%), intrauterine growth retardation (26%). The rate of LSCS was 13% in study group and the most common indication was fetal distress and meconium stained amniotic fluid.

Conclusions: In the present study on fever during pregnancy and its maternal and fetal outcomes, fever was associated with a definite impact on maternal and fetal outcomes. Preterm and IUGR were the most common fetal complications. Duration of fever was linearly associated with poor outcomes. Different causes of fever also had different impact on maternal and fetal outcome. Preterm IUGR, MSAF were more common with malaria and tuberculosis. Abortion was more commonly seen in first trimester fever, whereas preterm, PROM in the third trimester fever. Hence it is suggested that fever during pregnancy needs to be promptly investigated and treated to have a better outcome.


IUGR, Fever, Meconium

Full Text:



Edwards MJ. Hyperthermia and fever during pregnancy. Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology. 2006;76(7):507-16.

Edwards MJ, Saunders RD, Shiota K. Effect of heat on embryos and fetuses. Int J Hyperthermia. 2003;19(3):295-324

Chamber CD, Johnson KA, Dick LM, Felix RJ, Jones KL. Maternal fever and birth outcome: a prospective study. Teratol. 1998;58:251-7.

Cotch MF, Pastorek JG, Nugent RP, Hillier SL, Gibbs RS, Martin DH, et al. Trichomonas vaginalis associated with low birth weight and preterm delivery. Sex Transm Dis. 1997;24:352.

Kline J, Stein Z, Susser M, Warburton D. Fever during pregnancy and spontaneous abortion. Am J Epidemiol. 1985;121(6):832-42.

Saba N, Sultana A, Mahsud I. Outcome and complication of malaria in pregnancy. Gomal J Med Sci. 2008;6(2):98-101.

Chawla S, Manu V. Malaria in pregnancy. MJAFI. 2007;63:147-8.

Mitra N, Joshi M, Hazra M. Maternal manifestation of malaria in pregnancy: a review. India J Mater Child Health. 1993;4:98-101.

Khadilkar SS, Saraiya UB. Tuberculosis in pregnancy: a ten-year overview. J Obstet Gynecol India. 2003;53(5):453-7.

Charles G, Peiffer H, Talarmin A. Effect of dengue fever during pregnancy in French Guiana. Clin Infect Dis. 1999;28(3):637-40.

Basurko C, Carles G, Youssef M, Guindi WE. Maternal and fetal consequence of dengue fever during pregnancy. Eur J Obstet Gynaecol Reprod Biol. 2009;147(1);29-32.

Nath G, Chaudhary M, Prakash J, Pandey LK, Singh TB, Jai P. Urinary tract infection in pregnancy and fetal outcome. Indian J Med Microbiol. 1996;14(3):158-60.