Objectives: To describe the major pregnancy-induced physiologic changes that affect the care of patients who are critically ill.
Methods: We reviewed relevant textbooks and articles pertaining to physiologic alterations produced by pregnancy. Those changes that have a bearing on patients admitted to an intensive care unit were abstracted, summarized, and organized by organ system.
Conclusions: Several organ systems manifest significant change in function during pregnancy. The cardiovascular and pulmonary systems are the two most important with regard to critical care.