According to the CDC, pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. have steadily grown from 7.2 deaths in 1987 to 18 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014.1  Severe maternal morbidity has also increased, affecting over 50,000 women a year. In many cases, major maternal morbidity and mortality may be preventable.3-5  Reviews of these cases have repeatedly shown a failure to recognize and respond to abnormal vital signs, with many authors stressing the need for early evaluation and intervention.3,6  Therefore, the use of maternal early warning systems (MEWS) is recommended to promote timely patient assessment and alert clinicians of potential impending critical illness with the goal of improved maternal safety outcomes.

There are three components to developing a MEWS: early warning criteria, prompt reporting and bedside evaluation. The National Partnership for Maternal Safety...

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