Postnatal maternal morbidity: extent, causes, prevention and treatment

Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1995 Apr;102(4):282-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1995.tb09132.x.


Objective: To describe the prevalence and causes of postnatal maternal morbidity.

Design: Questionnaire survey of postnatal patients. Further data extracted from SMR1 returns, case records and the Aberdeen Maternity and Neonatal Databank.

Setting: Postnatal care in a teaching maternity hospital, midwife delivery hospital, general practitioner maternity units and in the community.

Subjects: Twenty percent random sample of deliveries (1249 women) surveyed one week, eight weeks and 12 to 18 months after delivery.

Main outcome measures: Incidence of self reported maternal morbidity, treatment received, readmission rates and causes for readmission.

Results: Of mothers in the sample 85% (99% CI 82-88%) reported at least one health problem in hospital, rising to 87% (84-90%) of those at home; 76% (71-81%) reported at least one health problem after eight weeks post-delivery.

Conclusions: Maternal morbidity is extensive and under-recognised after delivery. Measures to reduce and alleviate it must be sought.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Services
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Postnatal Care*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Puerperal Disorders / mortality*
  • Random Allocation
  • Scotland / epidemiology