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National Initiatives to Improve Systems for Postpartum Care

Abstract

Purpose To showcase several current national initiatives that focus on reducing maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity and promote postpartum health and wellness for all women. Description Maternal injuries and deaths are a serious public health concern with tremendous impact on families, communities, and healthcare providers. Over the past two decades, it has become apparent that the timing of serious maternal complications has shifted, with more than half of deaths occurring in the immediate postpartum period up to 1 year following birth. Many of these reported deaths could have been prevented, and the number of “near misses” of maternal morbidity cases continues to grow exponentially. In addition, postpartum women experience substantial unmet health needs, compromising their wellbeing. Assessment The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses have thoroughly assessed the significance of the rising trends in maternal morbidity/mortality and are leading efforts to reduce these rates and improve overall health and wellbeing for all women during the postpartum period. Conclusion Developing national initiatives to improve postpartum health are vital to increasing the effectiveness of postpartum discharge education, and improving the participation in and the quality of postpartum care. Hopefully, evidence-based practice and widespread dissemination of these efforts will lead to a reduction in preventable post-birth maternal morbidity and mortality.

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Acknowledgments

AWHONN’s postpartum discharge education program described in this paper was supported by funding from Merck, through its Merck for Mothers program. Funding was used for general financial support, including staff salaries, travel, and overhead. Merck had no role in the design, collection, analysis and interpretation of data, in writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of Merck.

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Correspondence to Lisa Kleppel.

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Kleppel, L., Suplee, P.D., Stuebe, A.M. et al. National Initiatives to Improve Systems for Postpartum Care. Matern Child Health J 20, 66–70 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-016-2171-1

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Keywords

  • Maternal mortality and morbidity
  • Postpartum care
  • Postpartum health