Division of Maternal and Newborn Health – September 2022 update

Division Director: Prof Bo Jacobsson 

The FIGO Division of Maternal and Newborn Health covers the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period and issues related to the newborn health during the first month of life. The division also covers the impact of pregnancy on women’s long-term health. The activity within the division is closely related to UN Sustainable Development Goal number 3, especially goals 3.1. and 3.2 on reducing maternal mortality and child mortality under five years of age.  

The division’s main project is the production of a new decade version of the Born Too Soon report, together with many stakeholders within the global maternal and newborn health community. They plan to launch the decade version at the Align MNH meeting in Cape Town in May 2023. In addition, other events concerning the Born Too Soon report will be held at the Regional Congress in November 2022 and the World Congress in 2023. 

Most of the division’s work has been to bring together and align its committees to use the fantastic efforts in the best possible way.  

Committee on Impact of Pregnancy on Long-term Health 

Committee Chair: Prof Fionnuala McAuliffe  

The committee has been working on the dissemination of the FIGO Nutrition Checklist in India, Sweden, Columbia and South Africa. The launch of the web-based version is planned for the end of summer 2022 on FIGO's website. Their next steps include collaborating with the Committee on Well Woman Health and Care and the Division of Maternal and Newborn Health on a preconception checklist. 


In collaboration with the Committee on Climate Change and Toxic Environmental Exposures, this committee is working on an IJGO article: "Nutritional interventions to ameliorate the effect of endocrine disruptors on human reproductive health: A semi-structured review from FIGO", due to be published in February 2023.  

The committee also has a supplement in progress on the impact of pregnancy on long-term health. 

Five review articles and one original article on the use of the FIGO Nutrition Checklist, obesity across the life course, obesity and fertility, prevention of T2DM and cardiovascular diseases following pregnancy complications will be published. 

It has also released a FIGO Statement for International Breastfeeding Week 2022.  

Webinars and online learning 

The committee took part in a breastfeeding webinar to celebrate International Breastfeeding Week, in collaboration with UNICEF on 3 August 2022. 

The FIGO Global Webinar for this committee will take place in early 2023 and is entitled “Nutritional interventions to ameliorate impact of endocrine disruptors on reproductive health”. 


The committee will be organising a breakfast session, two keynote talks and a two-hour breakout session entitled “Nutrition and obesity across the life course – impact on obstetrics, gynaecology and fertility”. 

Committee on Health Systems Strengthening and Respectful Care 

Committee Chair: Dr Pius Okong  

The committee's project on respectful care at childbirth is a critical element in health care irrespective of settings or country development level or health system. It strives to achieve the 12 Steps for Safe and Respectful Mother-Baby-Family Maternity Care through self-evaluation and reflection at the facility level. It has already been implemented in a number of countries and involving FIGO member societies in those countries. In the last quarter, an additional three countries are being brought on board (French speaking from West Africa and English speaking from East Africa).  

The committee’s project on respectful care in abortion care is the concept of respectful care being extended to abortion care, which is being developed together with the Committee on Safe Abortion. 

The committee is also working on maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response (MPDSR). Countries implementing this strategy which leads to health systems strengthening are being identified and contacted and FIGO member societies contacted to identify their involvement. Interaction virtually also involving countries and member societies not carrying to MPDSR for purposes of sharing lessons learnt is the next step. This will be followed by a twinning process in order to stimulate FIGO member society involvement and countries not carrying out MPDRS to adopt and implement it. 


A review paper on health systems strengthening with respect to maternal and newborn health and also a survey of FIGO member societies for priority needs regarding health systems strengthening are being developed. 

Committee on Preterm Birth 

Committee Chair: Prof Andrew Shennan 

The Preterm Birth Committee has worked on two specific reviews. Members are part of a Cochrane review on models of care in midwifery evaluating their impact on preterm birth, which is near completion. This will feed into a FIGO review on its wider implications. Another review on timing of delivery will incorporate a recently completed meta-analysis and low-income trial also recently completed by members of the group.  

Members are active in a number of European and North American guidelines, including Born Too Soon and the European Perinatal Society. These guidelines and those from the WHO (which the committee contributed to) will be published shortly. 

Webinars and online learning  

The committee has planned a webinar to coincide with World Prematurity Day in November 2022. 


They have submitted proposals for talks and other contributions at FIGO’s Regional Congress in 2022 and World Congress in 2023. 

Committee on Infections during Pregnancy 

Committee Chair: Dr Eliana Amaral 

The committee participated in FIGO's workshop on the sustainable implementation of vaccination programmes for women: best practice strategies, held in Prague 2-4 July 2022. Now a document is under preparation to disseminate updated and relevant information, proposals for action and directions to support implementation of successful vaccination programmes. This will stress the importance of pregnancy as a golden opportunity to prevent morbidity and mortality among pregnant and postpartum women and newborns. 

Other activities relate to contribution with initiatives form other health organisations, including NGOs. A recent meeting was promoted with the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination, when a committee member from Africa (Edward Buga) was appointed as the focal point to work more closely with urgent demands specially for African countries. Also, the contribution to disseminate the registry on hepatitis C in pregnancy was agreed upon. 

There is an expectation that the committee will participate at the WHO Rotary Polio and Mother and Child Care conference this October. 

Committee members are also working on preparing podcasts, videos, infographics, and other materials regarding current and emerging infections occurring during pregnancy and postpartum. The collaboration with other committees in the division and other organisations is expected, not only on the content but also to search for financial support. The activities will be primarily directed to the relevant determinants perinatal and maternal morbidity-mortality in LMICs, but also focus on advances in the pipeline. 


Two documents by the committee were submitted for publication in August 2022, after final revision of committee members: a FIGO Statement on monkeypox during pregnancy, and a manuscript for the IJGO special issue, “vaccination during pregnancy: a golden opportunity not to be missed”.  

There is also another document derived from the March webinar, “Covid-19 during pregnancy: an update” has been prepared by the invited speakers. Another manuscript on c-section is expected to be a collaboration among committees at the Division on Maternal and Newborn Health. 

Webinars and online learning  

The first activity organised by the committee was the webinar "COVID-19 during pregnancy: an update”, which took place on 17 March 2022. 

Committee on Childbirth and PPH 

Committee Chair: Dr Wanda Nicholson 


The committee is working on a supplement for IJGO planned for June 2023. The supplement will include six manuscripts and an opening editorial. The supplement will focus on the caesarean epidemic and strategies to reduce morbidity in the setting of postpartum haemorrhage. 

Two members of the committee, Inez Nunes (Portugal) and Monica Oguttu (Kenya) are representing the committee on the collaborative guide: Preventing and Addressing Stillbirths Across the Continuum of Care: A Global Advocacy and Implementation Guide. 

Webinars and online learning  

The May 2022 webinar on obstructed labour was a collaboration between the Committee on Obstetric Fistula and the Committee on Childbirth and PPH. 


The following sessions have been approved for the committee to present at the Cartagena 2022 Congress: two keynote lectures on health equity and caesarean delivery epidemic; breakout sessions on challenges and solutions to optimising caesarean delivery rates in LMICs; and a workshop session on facilitators and management of PPH.