Study shows preventability of adverse fetal or neonatal outc
A study shows more than half of adverse fetal or neonatal outcomes linked to women with life-threatening complications in pregnancy could have been prevented.

The study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found fetal or neonatal harm associated with severe maternal morbidity (SMM) was potentially preventable in 54.1 percent of the 85 cases reviewed. Adverse outcomes include death and admission to a neonatal intensive care unit or special care baby unit.

Preventability was related to maternal antenatal/peripartum care (in utero) in 39 percent of cases, initial neonatal care (ex utero) in 36 percent, and to both maternal and neonatal care in 20 percent of cases.

SMM occurs in 1–2 percent of pregnancies. Although it has been linked to poor outcomes for the baby, there has been limited research into how these outcomes could be prevented.

The study showed the main contributors to potential preventability were a lack of recognition of high risk, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose, and delayed or inappropriate treatment.

Multidisciplinary panels found that over half of adverse fetal/neonatal harm associated with SMM was potentially preventable. The novel approach of examining both maternal and neonatal care identifies opportunities to improve fetal/neonatal outcomes associated with SMM at multiple points on the perinatal continuum of care.