The postpartum period is a critical time to ensure women and their newborns are healthy. It is important to closely monitor a woman’s health during this recovery time – especially if she experienced complications during pregnancy or childbirth – as nearly half of maternal deaths occur during the first days and weeks after childbirth. The most common yet preventable causes of severe maternal morbidity and maternal mortality include obstetric hemorrhage, severe hypertension, venous thromboembolism, infection and cardiac disease. Even healthy women who give birth are at risk for these complications.
When a woman is discharged from the hospital, she may either receive so much information that she becomes overwhelmed (e.g., pamphlets, flyers, samples), or she may receive very limited “mother-focused” information on what health changes she may experience after childbirth. In either scenario, the reality is that many women do not receive consistent messages and adequate guidance on identifying the warning signs and symptoms of complications, or instructions to obtain necessary medical attention within the postpartum period.
Increasing the number of women who recognize potential life-threatening post-birth warning signs that can occur after hospital discharge and educating them on when to obtain immediate medical attention can save lives.
Postpartum Discharge Education
AWHONN has developed a standard approach to postpartum discharge education provided by nurses during the hospital stay. The program includes online education on maternal morbidity and mortality and how to deliver consistent messages about warning signs that can signal serious complications. The online course educates postpartum nurses about the rising rates of maternal mortality and severe morbidity in the U.S., particularly in the postpartum period, and the role nurses can play in reversing this trend.
The course also provides a discharge education checklist that includes points for nurses and a handout for all mothers to take home.
Postpartum Discharge Education (PDE) Implementation Community
AWHONN is committed to assisting hospital leaders in the implementation of key evidence-based initiatives. As facilitating change can be difficult, AWHONN has created a PDE Implementation Community for hospital leaders to interact with AWHONN staff and other participating members to best support this change effort. This Implementation Community includes:
Purchase at least 15 seats of online education
Participation in three 90 minute conference calls to support implementation and integration of AWHONN’s discharge teaching tools into the electronic medical record.
Learning from and sharing successes and challenges with other members of the Community to identify best practices to implementation of AWHONN’s POST-BIRTH Warning Signs education into discharge teaching.
Registration for the current PDE Implementation Community is now closed due to high demand.If you are interested in more information, please email email@example.com
An Interview with a New Mother
Teaching all women to recognize potentially life-threatening signs of post-birth complications can save lives, as evidenced by this interview with a new mother who received this education from her postpartum nurse prior to hospital discharge.
The development of AWHONN’s Postpartum Discharge Education Program is described in three peer-reviewed journals to date:
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