Upcoming Programmes in Care of the critically ill pregnant/postnatal woman in the maternity HDU

23 October Oct

Care of the critically ill pregnant/postpartum woman in the maternity HDU setting

23 October 2019, 08:00AM to 05:00PM
Rita Kelly Conference Centre, Education Centre, Coombe Women and Infant's University Hospital, Cork Street, Dublin 8.

Programme rationale

This study day provides a comprehensive overview of topics/conditions that a midwife and nurse will regularly encounter when caring for the critically ill pregnant woman in the high dependency unit. There are many reasons pregnant or postnatal women may require admission to the high dependency unit. According to HSE clinical guidelines for the critically ill woman in obstetrics the diagnoses which precipitates admission to HDU for critical care include massive haemorrhage (>2,500ml loss), eclampsia, sepsis, thromboembolism, acute organ dysfunction (renal, hepatic, cardiac, respiratory), anaesthesia-related morbidity (aspiration, anaphylaxis and drug related problems) (HSE 2014). According to the Maternal Death Enquiry (2018) for the years 2014-2016, there were a total of 12 maternal deaths identified in Ireland, occurring during pregnancy or within 42 days’ post-partum. Following an analysis of maternal mortality by MBRRACE-UK it is apparent that there are some maternal deaths associated with suboptimal care. If midwives and all members of the multidisciplinary team have the appropriate clinical knowledge and skills it may help minimise potentially avoidable maternal mortality in women requiring high dependency maternity care.

Programme aim

This programme aims to build upon existing knowledge and skills, to enable midwives to provide care for women who require high dependency care in pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period as part of the multidisciplianry team.

Learning outcomes


  • Demonstrate an understanding of the approaches to high dependency maternity care and of issues relating to maternal mortality and morbidity.

  • Work cohesively and effectively with other members of the multidisciplinary team in caring for the woman with high-dependency needs.

  • Develop the clinical skills associated with high dependency care ensuring that such skills are underpinned with professional knowledge.

  • Outline the midwives role in the care of the critically ill pregnant/postpartum woman in the maternity HDU setting as part of the multidisciplinary team.

Indicative content


  • Maternal collapse

  • Pre-eclampsia/Eclampsia

  • Haemorrhage

  • Sepsis

  • Diabetes/DKA

  • Care of lines/Haemodyamic monitoring