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Matern Child Health J. 2016 Nov;20(Suppl 1):66-70.

National Initiatives to Improve Systems for Postpartum Care.

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  • 1Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), 1800 M Street NW, Suite 740 South, Washington, DC, 20036, USA.
  • 2School of Nursing-Camden, Rutgers University, 215 N. 3rd St., Camden, NJ, 08102, USA.
  • 3University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Distinguished Scholar of Infant and Young Child Feeding, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
  • 4Institute for Perinatal Quality Improvement, 418 Pershing Drive, Silver Spring, MD, 20910, USA.


Purpose To showcase several current national initiatives that focus on reducing maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity and promote postpartum health and wellness for all women. Description Maternal injuries and deaths are a serious public health concern with tremendous impact on families, communities, and healthcare providers. Over the past two decades, it has become apparent that the timing of serious maternal complications has shifted, with more than half of deaths occurring in the immediate postpartum period up to 1 year following birth. Many of these reported deaths could have been prevented, and the number of "near misses" of maternal morbidity cases continues to grow exponentially. In addition, postpartum women experience substantial unmet health needs, compromising their wellbeing. Assessment The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses have thoroughly assessed the significance of the rising trends in maternal morbidity/mortality and are leading efforts to reduce these rates and improve overall health and wellbeing for all women during the postpartum period. Conclusion Developing national initiatives to improve postpartum health are vital to increasing the effectiveness of postpartum discharge education, and improving the participation in and the quality of postpartum care. Hopefully, evidence-based practice and widespread dissemination of these efforts will lead to a reduction in preventable post-birth maternal morbidity and mortality.


Maternal mortality and morbidity; Postpartum care; Postpartum health

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