Best Practices to Ensure Healthy Moms & Babies
NOTE: This article references women, rather than the more inclusive categorization of women and birthing people, in order to reflect language used by the CDC.
On January 23, physicians and nurses of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) OB/GYN and the nurses of SVMC Women’s and Children’s Services will mark Maternal Health Awareness Day. This little-known awareness day is intended to raise awareness of issues that have led to increased rates of maternal mortality in the U.S.
Tragically, about 700 women in America die each year as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications, with approximately one in three pregnancy-related deaths occurring one week to one year after delivery.
Even more disturbing is the fact that the United States has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world. In fact, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is nearly three times higher than that of France, the country with the next highest rate.
As the health of every mother and child is of the utmost priority, the providers at SVMC have adopted maternal safety practices or “bundles” developed by the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM), with the goal of improving maternal safety and outcomes.
A national data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative, AIM relies on state teams comprised of state health departments, health associations, perinatal collaboratives, provider groups, and hospitals—like SVMC—to work together to implement consistent maternity care practices and gather and report data on outcomes and process measures.
The program allows providers to learn from best practices that address the leading known causes of preventable maternal mortality in the United States. These include obstetric hemorrhage; hypertensive emergencies such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, and stroke; reduction of primary cesarean birth; and care for those with substance use disorder, among others.
Each bundle covers readiness; recognition and prevention; response; reporting and systems learning; and respectful, equitable, and supportive care.
While this effort is not readily visible to patients, it is an important part of our unwavering commitment to use every available resource to ensure our safety measures are the best anywhere.”
Kimberley Sampson, MD, is an OB/GYN at SVMC OB/GYN in Bennington.