1. Witcher, Patricia M. MSN, RNC-OB
  2. Sisson, Melissa C. MSN, RN


A better understanding of why women die during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum offers valuable insight into strategies aimed at preventing maternal deaths and arresting the progression in the severity of a complication. The rate of severe maternal morbidity and maternal mortality in the United States has been trending upward in recent years and has garnered national attention with concentration on bolstering reviews of maternal deaths and implementing patient safety initiatives. The obstetric nurse is in a unique position to improve maternal outcomes through the anticipation, recognition, and communication of the early warning signs of impending deterioration in maternal condition. Presented in the context of the conceptual model of Stephen Covey's Circle of Influence, the professional nurse can proactively influence maternal outcomes directly, with actions defined by the scope of professional nursing practice or indirectly through professional interactions with others. Advancing one's education, knowledge, and technical skills broadens the influential capacity.