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Study Finds Over 1 in 7 Cases of Severe Maternal Morbidity Not Identified Until Post Hospital Discharge Following Delivery

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Examinations of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) in the US have previously focused on delivery hospitalizations, with little being known about de novo SMM that occurs after delivery discharge. A study published in JAMA Network Open sought to investigate the incidence, timing, factors, and maternal characteristics associated with de novo SMM after delivery discharge among women in the US.

For this study data from the IBM MarketScan Multi-State Medicaid database and the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database were used to construct a sample of women aged 15 to 44 years who delivered between January 1, 2010, and September 30, 2014. Of the 2,667,325 women in the US with delivery hospitalizations between 2010 and 2014, 14% and 16% of severe maternal morbidity among those with commercial and Medicaid insurance, respectively, developed de novo within 6 weeks after delivery discharge. The most common factors and maternal characteristics associated with severe maternal morbidity after delivery were different than those identified at delivery.

The study findings suggest that expanding the focus of severe maternal morbidity assessment to the postdelivery discharge period could improve understanding of severe maternal morbidity and may create opportunities to improve maternity care.

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