Survey of midwifery services on the uptake, benefits, and barriers to use of an early detection system for maternal health

This study examined the extent to which early detection systems are used by midwives and their perceived role in preventing maternal complications.  An e-mail questionnaire was sent to the heads of midwifery services.  All but one unit had introduced such a system and 99% reported that they were used antenatally, 76% in labour, and 100% on the postnatal ward.  Although six clinical measurements were common in all systems, the triggers varied widely.  Training for midwives in their use was available in 83% of organisations.  Barriers to use included overlap with other systems, staff shortages, and delays obtaining assistance once an issue was detected.  However, two thirds thought that they helped prevent maternal complications, although few could provide evidence for this.  Further research is needed to evaluate the role of such systems to prevent maternal complications during and after pregnancy in different maternity settings.

Bick, D.E., Sandall, J., Furuta, M., Wee, M.Y.K., Isaacs, R., Smith, G.B., Beake, S. and on behalf of the Modified Obstetric Early Warning Systems (Mobs) Research Group, 2014. A national cross sectional survey of heads of midwifery services of uptake, benefits and barriers to use of obstetric early warning systems (EWS) by midwives. Midwifery.