Division of Maternal and Newborn Health – April 2022 update

Division Director: Professor Bo Jacobsson  

The Division of Maternal and Newborn Health is actively bringing the five committees together in various projects regarding caesarean section, postpartum haemorrhage, preterm delivery, Covid-19, and postnatal care.

They are also focusing on how they, together with member societies, can strengthen health systems to deliver the knowledge and evidence of health care that we already know is right. Their flagship project for 2021–2023 is the decade version of the Born Too Soon report, which will be ready for launch in May 2023. 

Committee on Childbirth and Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH)

Committee Chair: Dr Wanda Nicholson

The Committee on Childbirth and PPH published a new IJGO Supplement for recommendations on the management of postpartum haemorrhage in March 2022. The committee is planning a collaborative webinar with the Committee on Obstetric Fistula: “Obstructed labour: postpartum haemorrhage and obstetric fistula” due to take place on Thursday 19 May.  

The committee is developing a special issue for IJGO touching on topics such as caesarean section on maternal request, labour prep, and postpartum hypertensive disease. The committee will also be working within the Division of Maternal and Newborn Health on their flagship project and other collaborative endeavours, more specifically with the Committee on Infections During Pregnancy on infectious diseases within childbirth. Members of the Committee also participate on the Stillbirth Advisory Committee, FIGO 2023 Advisory Committee and collaborate with other committees within the Maternal and Newborn Health Division.

Committee on Impact of Pregnancy on Long Term Health

Committee Chair: Professor Fionnuala McAuliffe 

The committee is currently working on an IJGO supplement on postpartum maternal health.   

One of their biggest projects is a nutrition checklist. A web-based version is in development, along with a vegan/plant-based version/vegetarian version, an animated video and infographics to explain what the checklist is and how to use it.  

Other activities will concentrate on the dissemination of this checklist via meetings with interested parties in the five regions and other promotional opportunities.  

A pilot study in at-risk women (e.g. women at risk of anaemia/preterm birth) being discussed, to see if the tool can capture those who have nutritional deficiencies that can be immediately addressed. Finally, the committee plans to turn the checklist into an educational training module for global use, with CPD points available to enhance its dissemination in many regions and raise awareness amongst healthcare providers on the importance of nutrition. 

Committee on Infections During Pregnancy

Committee Chair: Dr Eliana Amaral  

The committee’s webinar Covid-19 during pregnancy: an update took place in March 2022, with speakers from the five different FIGO regions. 

In July 2022, the committee will collaboratively deliver a vaccination workshop in Prague, with a focus on HPV for cervical cancer prevention and vaccines during pregnancy. Written material from the workshop will be submitted to IJGO and support the development of online educational resources.  

Committee members will work on preparing podcasts, a Q&A series, and short classes on multiple topics such as sexually transmitted infections, vaginal infections, and infections producing sepsis. The main outputs will be educational and informational materials, as well as online events to disseminate best practice in collaboration with other FIGO committees and international organisations. The activities will focus on the determinants of perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality in LMICs.  

Committee on Preterm Birth

Committee Chair: Professor Andrew Shennan 

The committee had representation and input at the WHO Guideline Development Group meeting in January/February 2022: Antenatal corticosteroids and tocolysis. The committee has scoped opportunities as a group and planned a number of outputs such as: 

  1. To author impactful reviews in contemporary and or controversial or new areas. These include a) review on models of midwifery care in maternity b) iatrogenic prematurity and c) timing of delivery in pre-eclampsia  
  2. Cross cutting projects, together with other committees within the division on topics such as nutrition and caesarean section 
  3. Infographics on antenatal steroids, delayed cord clamping and mg sulphate usage. 

The committee is also planning to organise a webinar for FIGO’s global webinar series to coincide with World Prematurity Day (November 2022).  

Committee on Health Systems Strengthening and Respectful Care

Committee Chair: Dr Pius Okong  

The focus of this committee will include respectful care in childbirth, a carryover from the FIGO/ICI project and will continue through activities in hospitals in two or more regions. A survey of purposefully selected member societies to identify their priorities in HSS & RC will be carried out as well as a review paper on HSS & RC in maternal and newborn health care.  

The committee will also identify countries that implement Maternal Perinatal Deaths Surveillance & Response (MPDS&R) and identify FIGO member societies involved in MPDS&R. A consultative process will follow, along with an intervention proposal of twinning of member societies involved in MPDS&R with societies who are not involved, for increased capacity building and implementation of MPDS&R. The committee plans to collaborate with other FIGO committees, both within the Division of Maternal and Newborn Health and more broadly.