Improving outcomes for maternal mortality and morbidity


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A local Sanford Health doctor is taking part in research to help lower the rate of pregnancy-related death in South Dakota.

In November of 2018 the North and South Dakota perinatal quality collaborative was formed, with a goal of improving outcomes for maternal and infant health.

Dr. Ashley Briggs, an OBGYN with Sanford Health is part of the NSDPQC, researching maternal mortality and morbidity.

“We’ll take collaboratives, and they really review these, again, morbidity and mortality cases in great depth to try to find out what were the underlying, multi-factorial reasons for these women’s deaths and also morbidity causes,” Briggs said.

She says health disparities in South Dakota between Caucasian and Native American women are being taken into account, with hopes of continuing to lower the rates.

“We know that the, the groups that represented IHS and our tribal facilities really felt that the severe hypertension would have a significant impact in improving the morbidity mortality among our Native American population and our women,” Briggs said.

She says hypertension is one of the leading causes for pregnancy related death and health decline nationally.

The team is aiming to roll out information and education by March, 2021.

“Our NSDPQC will among participating hospitals, improve the identification and timely treatment of severe hypertension in pregnant and postpartum women by educating the public about hypertension, warning signs and implementing best practices related to hypertension management in critical access hospitals and emergency departments,” Briggs said.

With positive outcomes for mothers and infants the top priority.

“I think as we all feel as providers, and I think as people from both North and South Dakota, that every woman matters and we really want to have good outcomes for all of our women and all of our babies,” Briggs said.

To take a look at the warning signs for severe hypertension or high blood pressure in pregnant women, click here.

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