Pregnant women can present to any acute hospital service at any time during their pregnancy or the postpartum period, which is up to 12 months post-delivery.
Women may present with acute medical problems that need to be managed differently because of pregnancy, or may present with obstetric syndromes. Over two-thirds of all maternal deaths in the UK are due to non-obstetric, medical problems in pregnancy and postpartum.
This toolkit is essential reading for front-line NHS staff who may be unfamiliar with the normal physiology of pregnancy and/or diseases that present in pregnancy. Challenges arise in managing two lives — the mother and the baby — often leading to a state of clinical inertia.
The toolkit contains:
- practical guidance on managing women with acute medical problems in pregnancy
- red flags to watch out for in pregnant patients
- advice to healthcare staff to ask about a woman’s mental wellbeing when she comes to hospital for other reasons during or after pregnancy
- recommendations to improve the standard of acute care for pregnant women.
Further educational and quality improvement tools, including flowcharts for managing pregnant patients with a variety of symptoms, are available in the appendices.
Updated on 25 November 2019: please note that page 3 of the toolkit has been amended to reflect current guidance on codeine/opiates under the heading ‘Common medications used in acute medical conditions, and their use in pregnancy’. Flowchart 1a has also been updated.