Childbirth is part of the most common reasons women visit a hospital. While most women in the United States experience safe, healthy pregnancies, more than 50,000 sustain injuries. Depending on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 700 mothers die each year from pregnancy or causes related to childbirth—more than any other developed country.
Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women is committed to preventing pregnancy-related death. To elevate the quality of care pregnant women and moms who recently delivered receive, Baptist focuses its efforts on developing, implementing and strengthening routine procedures that prepare for issues and save lives.
Implementing Blood Loss Best Practices
Hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death in the United States. According to Dr. Aric Giddens, vice president of the medical staff at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women and former chairman of the OB-GYN department, the key to saving lives is measuring blood loss.
“Baptist has received statewide recognition for preventing and treating hemorrhage in the safest. Most effective way possible,” said Giddens. “We developed a protocol to quantify blood loss for all patients. This procedure includes weighing blood-soaked towels and pads to measure the exact amount of blood loss. If there’s a question of how much bleeding a patient is having, we can quantify that specifically. This process helps Baptist doctors, nurses and staff stay alert.”
In addition to measuring blood loss at every stage of childbirth and recovery, Baptist caregivers anticipate which patients may be under a greater risk for hemorrhage before they even enter the delivery room.
“Our electronic health records (EHR) system—Baptist OneCare— tracks patients’ risk factors, assessing them for postpartum hemorrhage,” said Giddens. “Alerts appear on the computer for nurses and doctors. Every time health care professionals look at a patient’s chart. They see a banner indicating that patient’s hemorrhage risk.”
The EHR system provides doctors and nurses with the visibility they need to move fast. Giddens and his team have been in a position to optimize their emergency response to extreme blood loss.
“We sat down with doctors and nurses and put together evidence-based protocols,” said Giddens. “We looked at best practices throughout the country for acute blood loss situations specific to obstetrics. We asked, ‘What’s the best way to deal with these patients?’ And then we built a protocol to handle that. With the protocol, Baptist caregivers know exactly what has to be done in that in that situation.”
Treating Dangerous Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or critically high blood pressure, is a leading cause of stroke for new and expecting mothers. A recent USA Today report found as many as 60 percent of hypertension-related deaths can be avoided.
“Baptist has implemented key routines and standard procedures that help doctors and nurses handle hypertension or preeclampsia crisis that could lead to a stroke,” said Giddens.
According to USA Today and research from the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, medical professionals and hospital staff must be ready to identify signs and symptoms of elevated blood pressure, respond with medication within an hour and consistently track data to improve future outcomes.
“These procedures help our health care professionals manage blood pressure, and they make it very easy for Baptist physicians to adhere to fixed parameters for giving blood pressure medicine at the appropriate time. ” said Giddens.
Providing Services for Pregnant and Postpartum Women
Pregnancy is just an exciting and stressful time for parents. Baptist is determined to explaining what to expect when giving birth and guiding families through this important life stage.
“Baptist offers birthing and parenting classes for patients before they deliver,” said Giddens. “They also provide tips and guidelines for how to adopt a newborn baby home.”
Life after giving birth can be disconcerting for first-time mothers and fathers. Once they leave the hospital, many women feel unprepared when it now comes to managing their own health and wellness while learning to care for a newborn.
While many hospitals do not provide enough information for new moms, Baptist supports women with valuable resources, such as breastfeeding and sleeping tips and help with postpartum depression.
“Baptist’s services for new parents are vast—from appointments with a lactation consultant to psychological services at the Universal Parenting Place, a free program that provides advice, counseling and tips to help parents and grandparents navigate the challenges of raising a family in a judgment-free environment,” said Giddens.
Learn more about maternity programs and labor and delivery of medical services at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women. Finding a doctor by visiting our Find a Physician page.