A systematic review of biomarkers associated with maternal infection in pregnant and postpartum women

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2022 Apr;157(1):42-50. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.13747. Epub 2021 Jun 21.


Background: Serum biomarkers are commonly used to support the diagnosis of infection in non-pregnant patients whose clinical presentation suggests infection. The utility of serum biomarkers for infection in pregnant and postpartum women is uncertain.

Search strategy: PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, ClinicalTrials.gov, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and SCOPUS were searched from inception to February 2020.

Selection criteria: Full-text manuscripts in English were included if they reported the measurement of maternal serum biomarkers-and included a control group-to identify infection in pregnant and postpartum women.

Data collection and analysis: two authors independently screened manuscripts, extracted data, and assessed methodologic quality.

Main results: Interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein, procalcitonin, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1, tumor necrosis factor-α, calgranulin B, neopterin, and interferon-γ inducible protein 10 reliably indicated infection. Intercellular adhesion molecule 1, monocyte chemotactic and activating factor, soluble IL-6 receptor, and IL-8 were not useful markers in pregnant and postpartum women.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that certain biomarkers have diagnostic value when maternal infection is suspected, but also confirms limitations in this population.

Keywords: biomarkers; chorioamnionitis; maternal morbidity; maternal mortality; puerperal infection; sepsis; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy


  • Biomarkers