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Levels of Maternal Care

Obstetric Care Consensus No, 9

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000003383
Online ACOG Publications
Obstetric Care Consensus List of Titles

ABSTRACT: Maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, particularly among women of color, have increased in the United States. The leading medical causes of maternal mortality include cardiovascular disease, infection, and common obstetric complications such as hemorrhage, and vary by timing relative to the end of pregnancy. Although specific modifications in the clinical management of some of these conditions have been instituted, more can be done to improve the system of care for high-risk women at facility and population levels. The goal of levels of maternal care is to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality, including existing disparities, by encouraging the growth and maturation of systems for the provision of risk-appropriate care specific to maternal health needs. To standardize a complete and integrated system of perinatal regionalization and risk-appropriate maternal care, this classification system establishes levels of maternal care that pertain to basic care (level I), specialty care (level II), subspecialty care (level III), and regional perinatal health care centers (level IV). The determination of the appropriate level of care to be provided by a given facility should be guided by regional and state health care entities, national accreditation and professional organization guidelines, identified regional perinatal health care service needs, and regional resources. State and regional authorities should work together with the multiple institutions within a region, and with the input from their obstetric care providers, to determine the appropriate coordinated system of care and to implement policies that promote and support a regionalized system of care. These relationships enhance the ability of women to give birth safely in their communities while providing support for circumstances when higher level resources are needed. This document is a revision of the original 2015 Levels of Maternal Care Obstetric Care Consensus, which has been revised primarily to clarify terminology and to include more recent data based on published literature and feedback from levels of maternal care implementation.

This information is designed as an educational resource to aid clinicians in providing obstetric and gynecologic care, and use of this information is voluntary. This information should not be considered as inclusive of all proper treatments or methods of care or as a statement of the standard of care. It is not intended to substitute for the independent professional judgment of the treating clinician. Variations in practice may be warranted when, in the reasonable judgment of the treating clinician, such course of action is indicated by the condition of the patient, limitations of available resources, or advances in knowledge or technology. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviews its publications regularly; however, its publications may not reflect the most recent evidence. Any updates to this document can be found on or by calling the ACOG Resource Center.

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© 2019 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.