Purpose of review Internationally there has been increased interest in maternal morbidity; both as a strategy to reduce maternal deaths and also because of the significant impact on a woman’s life as a result of suffering from maternal morbidity. The present review will evaluate the current knowledge of, and strategies to reduce maternal morbidity.
Recent findings The study of maternal morbidity and how to reduce it has been hampered for many years by the lack of a standard approach to measurement and evaluation. The World Health Organization has attempted to standardize the approach to maternal morbidity with the development of a new definition that recognizes the multiple dimensions of maternal morbidity, including external factors such as socioeconomic factors. This approach will assist with a more accurate evaluation of maternal morbidity. Maternal morbidity arises from many and varied causes. Many of these are amenable to quality improvement with an associated reduction in maternal morbidity.
Summary There have been significant advances in the understanding of maternal morbidity: incidence causes and management. Future research should aim to establish accurate rates for maternal morbidity and further develop ways for healthcare professionals, including anaesthesia care providers, to reduce it.