Many Postpartum Women Visit ER Within Weeks of Delivery

Most of these patients present with conditions related to their pregnancy
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 5 percent of women who deliver babies in hospitals across the United States visit the emergency department within 42 days of delivery, most often for pregnancy-related conditions, according to research published in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Steven L. Clark, M.D., and colleagues from the Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, Tenn., retrospectively studied discharge diagnosis codes and descriptions of emergency department visits for 222,084 women who delivered in Hospital Corporation of America facilities in the United States in 2007.

The researchers found that 10,751 (4.8 percent) visited the emergency department within 42 days of delivery. The majority of them, 58 percent, arrived with pregnancy-related conditions; 42 percent were seen for matters not related to pregnancy. Half of the postpartum patients readmitted to the hospital (5,190) or seen in the emergency department (21,833) in 2007 and 2008 experienced this encounter within 10 days of their discharge from the hospital.

"The scheduling and content of traditional postpartum education and clinical visits appear poorly suited to the prevention of puerperal morbidity," the authors write.

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