Chronic disease, Complications of pregnancy, Hematologic diseases, Sickle cell disease.



  1. MacMullen, Nancy J. PhD, APN/CNS, RNC-HROB, CNE
  2. Dulski, Laura A. APN/CNS, RNC-HROB, CNE


Abstract: Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects millions of people across the globe. In the United States, approximately 70,000 to 100,000 people have the disease, and 2 million have the sickle cell trait. SCD occurs once in every 500 African American births, and once in 36,000 Hispanic American births. Women with SCD can have more adverse maternal outcomes such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, preterm labor, placental abruption, intrauterine growth restriction, and low birthweight. Providing comprehensive nursing care to women with SCD is a challenge, particularly during labor and birth, with nursing management aimed at attaining healthy birth outcomes while preventing or treating manifestations of the disease. Labor and delivery nurses are responsible for specific knowledge and care practices for these women, including differentiating the pain of sickle cell crisis from contraction pain and monitoring maternal and fetal oxygenation, as oxygenation is jeopardized in laboring sickle cell patients. Intrapartum nursing care also requires vigilance in the need for emergency cesarean birth. Nursing interventions include symptom management, pain management, ensuring patient safety, and educating patients. Coordination of care and clear communication between the members of the healthcare team, patient, and family are essential elements to ensure a positive outcome for perinatal patients with SCD.