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Closer Monitoring System Needed For Pregnancies

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Closer Monitoring System Needed For Pregnancies

Wellington, Aug 3 NZPA - A third of pregnant women admitted to intensive care could prevent the stress and trauma with closer monitoring and better education for their providers, an Otago University study says.

The study focused on 29 pregnant women admitted to intensive care with severe acute maternal morbidity or SAMM from 2005-2007.

The research was carried out by a panel from the university in Wellington, led by Dr Beverley Lawton.

SAMM events are defined by the researchers as "a very ill pregnant or recently delivered woman who would have died had it not been luck or good care was on her side".

"If a pregnant woman ends up in intensive care that is a catastrophic event and it takes her a long time to recover. There can be ongoing issues for the mother and baby," Dr Lawton told NZPA.

The pilot study focused on women in greater Wellington but Dr Lawton said this would probably be indicative of national trends. A national study is in the pipeline.

Dr Lawton said there was a need for a national audit of SAMM so that obstetric services could be improved and fewer women suffer life threatening events.

A third of the women did not need to reach the near miss stage. The main reasons for those preventable ICU admissions included failure to diagnose infections such as blood poisoning, failure to follow up abnormal results, failure to recognise high risk of a life threatening event, delay in recognition of abnormal vital signs, delay in referral to experts and specialists, lack of knowledge, inadequate treatment and poor documentation.

"We have this wonderful catch system in place but we need to also learn how to improve our maternity care through our providers. They're critically important as changes in provider behaviour should result in better outcomes for women, particularly early in any maternal complication," Dr Lawton said.

Researchers are now proposing a dedicated severe maternal monitoring system which will be able to closely follow the impact of changing reproductive trends and maternity services on women's health, as well as identifying near miss cases during pregnancy and birth.

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