Bacterial infections are claiming the lives of more UK women during pregnancy and childbirth, a report has revealed.
Overall, fatalities are relatively low in number but cases of Group A Streptococcal disease (GAS) are becoming more common.
GAS, which can develop into a so-called flesh-eating bug, is typically found on the skin and inside the throat, although many women with the infection do not show symptoms.
The serious problems arise when the infection spreads further inside the body, such as to the blood or into a deeper layer of skin. Pregnant women and those who have recently given birth tend to be more at risk from the serious version of the disease.
Reducing the risk of the virus spreading is simple - wash hands regularly, the report said.
It also urged midwives to be more vigilant for the symptoms of GAS, especially community midwives.
The report, Saving Mother's Lives, was compiled by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries. It pointed out the rising number of deaths from GAS: 2000-02 saw 13 fatalities; 2003-05 saw 21; and 2006-09 saw 29.
"Yes, we do. If it has been identified that the high-risk category is of antenatal and postnatal women, education through information being included with the antenatal parental classes. Television media adverts should help to raise awareness and thus reduce the unfortunate maternal mortality due to Group A Streptococcal disease" - Anne, Swindon
"Yes, we should do more to prevent spread of bugs. Another way of preventing spread of bugs is by getting more health staffs, equipments and more domestic staff. Why did I say this, I mentioned this because of cross infection. For example a patient with MRSA is suppose to be barrier nurse and have personal instruments as at the time the patient is on admission till day of discharge.Sharing of equipment like sphygmomanometer will increase the spread of infection and with type of patient, a nurse should be allocated to work with the patient only. That is the reason why I said we need more staff and equipment. Washing of hands is not hundred percent guarantee of not transmitting infection especially when we a have a very high infectious disease in a unit or ward" - Maryam Omitogun, Greater London