Facility-based identification of women with severe maternal morbidity: It is time to start

William M. Callaghan*, William A. Grobman, Sarah J. Kilpatrick, Elliott K. Main, Mary D'Alton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Although maternal deaths have been the traditional indicator of maternal health, these events are the "tip of the iceberg" in that there are many women who have significant complications of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Identifying women who experience severe maternal morbidity and reviewing their care can provide critical information to inform quality improvement in obstetrics. In this commentary, we review methods to identify women who experienced severe complications of pregnancy. We propose a simple validated approach based on transfusion of four or more units of blood products, admission to an intensive care unit, or both as a starting point for identification and review of severe maternal morbidity in health care settings for the purpose of understanding successes and failures in systems of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-981
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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