How can we work together to protect women in the delivery room?

Recent media headlines suggest alarming increases in deaths among pregnant women and new moms in the U.S., and they’re raising eyebrows across the country. A series of stories published in USA Today attracted a great deal of attention with fear-inducing headlines, like “Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it.”

As a collective group of women’s health professionals, this is not the first time we have seen exposé articles like this. While they can provoke fear and worry, both patients and healthcare providers can work together in specific ways to help ensure the safety of moms-to-be in the delivery room and beyond.

What patients can do:

  • Be diligent about seeking prenatal care

    Regular prenatal visits with a board-certified OB/GYN or certified nurse-midwife can help ensure the safety of both mother and baby. During these essential appointments, women will receive crucial screenings, learn lifestyle changes and nutrition requirements, and discover important insights about their developing fetus.

  • Recognize the dangers of high-risk pregnancies

Factors such as pre-existing medical conditions, poor health or diet, excess body weight, and advanced maternal age may put a woman at high risk of developing complications during pregnancy and delivery. How do you find out if you are high risk? Ask your medical professional and learn ways you can promote a healthy labor and delivery experience.

  • Work with a skilled and highly reputable OB/GYN

    The single most crucial way women can help protect themselves is to find a trusted medical partner trained to handle any situation or emergency that might arise. Ask questions to qualify your health team, such as their ongoing training and how many pregnancies they handle each year.

What health care providers can do:

  • Curate a staff with the highest training available in their fields

    On the medical side, promoting safety for moms-to-be starts with a highly-trained staff of women’s health professionals. Healthcare administrators must only seek providers with advanced, specialized degrees and board certifications in their fields. Requiring ongoing education to stay up-to-date on emerging technologies and medical advancements that promote patient well-being during and after delivery is also vital.

  • Support patients in developing lifestyle habits that can prevent high-risk pregnancies

    Reducing the risk of complications in the delivery room can start months – and even years – before pregnancy occurs. Health care providers must support patients in adopting healthy lifestyle habits to help stay safe in the delivery room, such as eating a nutritious diet, getting adequate exercise, and refraining from smoking and alcohol.

  • Become a leader in promoting safety in the delivery room

We are committed to staying at the forefront of advancements in critical care treatments for maternal complications and are proud to lead the way for other professionals in our clinic, community, and beyond through these and other efforts:

  • Critical Care in Obstetrics Symposium in Scottsdale, AZ – Dr. Ostermann continues his participation in obstetrical critical care classes – complete with running emergency exercise drills which come back to our practice in Wisconsin to ensure our doctors, nurse midwife, and women’s health team are prepared for any unexpected situation that may arise during delivery.
  • American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. – Cindy Stippich, our certified nurse-midwife and Chair of the OB Newborn Committee at Beaver Dam Community Hospital, will deliver a speech to other professionals in May 2019.
  • Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) – Our entire women’s health team is trained in this evidence-based program that imparts skills to effectively manage obstetric emergencies, and Cindy Stippich is an ALSO instructor.

Having delivered thousands of babies since our inception in 1995, safety in the delivery room remains central to our core values. We invite everyone in our community to join us in advocating to strengthen a team effort between patients and their women’s health care providers to help keep Dodge County moms-to-be safe during labor and delivery.

Dr. Ken Ostermann MD, FACOG, FPMRS

Cindy Stippich, MSN, CNM, APNP
Beaver Dam Women’s Health, Ltd., Beaver Dam, WI 

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