The maternal early warning criteria: a proposal from the national partnership for maternal safety

Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Oct;124(4):782-786. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000480.


Case reviews of maternal death have revealed a concerning pattern of delay in recognition of hemorrhage, hypertensive crisis, sepsis, venous thromboembolism, and heart failure. Early-warning systems have been proposed to facilitate timely recognition, diagnosis, and treatment for women developing critical illness. A multidisciplinary working group convened by the National Partnership for Maternal Safety used a consensus-based approach to define The Maternal Early Warning Criteria, a list of abnormal parameters that indicate the need for urgent bedside evaluation by a clinician with the capacity to escalate care as necessary in order to pursue diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. This commentary reviews the evidence supporting the use of early-warning systems and describes The Maternal Early Warning Criteria, along with considerations for local implementation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness
  • Early Diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Patient Safety*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Preventive Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment