1. Simpson, Kathleen Rice PhD, RNC, CNS-BC, FAAN

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It has long been known that outcomes for mothers and babies are improved when they are in a hospital setting with the level of care that allows health care professionals who are skilled and equipped to timely and appropriately diagnose and treat maternal, fetal, and neonatal complications (American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] Committee on the Fetus and Newborn, 2012; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [ACOG] et al., 2019; March of Dimes Foundation, 2010). Levels of neonatal care and maternal care have offered detailed instructions, suggested criteria, and a framework for providing safe and effective perinatal care (AAP Committee on the Fetus and Newborn; ACOG et al.).


In the new edition of AWHONN's Perinatal Nursing, a review of the literature on maternal transport, as well as the nursing perspective and the pros and cons of various methods such as airplane, helicopter, and ambulance are provided (Wilson-Griffin, 2021). One-way and two-way transports are included along with equipment, personnel, communication plans, and preparing the patient and her family. Patient advocacy and critical aspects of safe patient handoff are featured prominently. Especially useful are the extensive practical advice, lists of specific equipment, details of the nurse's role, and examples of forms and order sets. As we did not find other types of maternal transport forms available in the literature, we continue to offer them in the textbook.


The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Patient Safety and Quality Committee et al. (2020) has just published a maternal transport briefing form and checklist that can be individualized to hospitals and health care systems. Helpful information on what to consider before transport and what should be available at the receiving hospital are included. An important part of this new publication is the recommendations for quality indicators that sending and receiving hospitals should consider as a part of their quality assurance program. These include detailed review of any case involving birth during transport or within 15 minutes of arrival, formal review periodically of all maternal transports, standard clinical management guidelines for the maternal conditions most frequently involved, measures of efficiency such as time of consult, transport, and arrival, appropriateness of transport, and an evaluation of the procedures for keeping the referring health care professionals in the sending hospital up-to-date on the condition of the patient (SMFM Patient Safety and Quality Committee et al., 2020). Adapting and adopting this type of form can lead to standardization of the transport process and ultimately improve outcomes for mothers and babies.


Nurses who are involved in sending or receiving mothers via maternal transport will find all of the resources in the reference list helpful. Consider application of the sample forms and using the suggested quality indicators for maternal transport.




American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn. (2012). Levels of neonatal care. Pediatrics, 130(3), 587-597.


Kilpatrick S. J., Menard M. K., Zahn C. M., Callaghan W. MAmerican College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. (2019). Levels of maternal care (Obstetric Care Consensus No. 9). American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 221(6), B19-B30.[Context Link]


March of Dimes Foundation. (2010). Toward improving the outcome of pregnancy III.[Context Link]


Gibson K. S., McLean DSociety for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Patient Safety and Quality Committee. (2020). Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Special Statement: A maternal transport briefing form and checklist. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. [Epub ahead of print]. [Context Link]


Wilson-Griffin J. (2021). Maternal-fetal transport. In K. R. Simpson, P. A. Creehan, N. O'Brien-Abel, C. Roth, & A. Rohan (Eds.), AWHONN's Perinatal nursing (5th ed., pp. 315-325). Wolters Kluwer. [Context Link]