Maternal-Fetal and Women’s Imaging for Global Health Radiology

  • Diana DowdyEmail author
  • Toma Omofoye


The state of maternal-fetal and women’s health in low- and middle-income countries remains appalling despite growing global attention. Every year approximately 350,000 women in the world die while pregnant or giving birth, up to million newborns die within their first year of life, and there are 2.6 million stillbirths (Faveau V, Contributing Editor. The state of the world’s midwifery, 2011: delivering health, saving lives. United Nations Population Fund. Each day 3500 women experience birth complications and 900 are likely to die. Since the adoption of the Millennium Development goals (MDGs) by the United Nations in 2000, deployment of resources toward Goals 3 and 4 (reducing child mortality and improving maternal health) yielded little improvement by the end of the target deadline of 2015. A renewal effort known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) replaced and expanded the original eight MDGs to include 17 distinct targets. Developed by a group of 190 world leaders, these goals focus on ending extreme poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and repairing global climate change.

Examination of the published epidemiologic data from around the world reveals unique characteristics and dissimilarities of countries with high maternal mortality. This chapter examines the scope of morbidity and mortality for women of reproductive age and their offspring, with special attention to conditions that can be diagnosed by ultrasound imaging. An overview is presented on the impact of regional, legal, and sociopolitical customs in target communities on practice of prenatal ultrasonography and how obstetric imaging may play a crucial role in reducing maternal and perinatal mortality. Published outcomes of projects using trained indigenous healthcare providers in the use of ultrasound are promising. With increasing availability of ultrasound technology, the replication of these prototype projects (coupled with other social and educational changes) could lead to improved maternal-fetal outcomes and achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 – “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (United Nations 2017. Sustainable development goals, goal 3. Good health and well-being. www.un.ort/sustainabledevelopment/health/).


Maternal/fetal health Maternal mortality Perinatal mortality Perinatal morbidity Fetal abnormalities Maternal complications Ultrasound – efficacy and utility Perinatal ultrasound Low- and middle-income countries Teleradiology Global healthcare/initiatives Sustainable development goals 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Midwifery and WHNP Programs, VUSON, Women’s Point of Care, Ultrasound with InnovatED UltrasoundNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, American Registry of Diagnostic SonographersNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Breast Imaging SectionUniversity of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterSpringUSA

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