Critically ill obstetrics patients may require care in an intensive care unit, or critical care nurses may assist in the management of these patients in the labor and delivery rooms. Critical care nurses are often called on because of their cardiopulmonary expertise, particularly in hemodynamic monitoring.1,2 Care of high-risk obstetrics patients is complex because clinical data must be interpreted within the context of the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy.3–,5 

This article provides an overview of the expected cardiovascular changes associated with pregnancy and the pathological changes that occur with some of the more common conditions that require critical care, such as postpartum hemorrhage and cardiac disease. The discussion includes recommendations on how to interpret cardiovascular findings and hemodynamic data in light of the physiological changes associated with pregnancy. A subsequent article addresses hemodynamic monitoring during preeclampsia.

Recognition of the expected hemodynamic changes associated with...

You do not currently have access to this content.