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The High BMI Mother: Challenges and Care Strategies Related to Patient Safety and the Obstetrical Nurse

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The prevalence of obesity is rapidly increasing not only in the United States but across the globe. This places a major impact on women of childbearing age and specifically pregnancy. Knowledge of the associated risks in pregnancy and intrapartum are imperative for nurses to continually assess and intervene to promote a safe maternal-fetal environment. Many challenges and limitations may arise while assessing maternal and fetal well-being during fetal monitoring sessions. The ability to recognize and apply strategic interventions are critical for the obstetrical nurse.  


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this activity, the participant will be able to:

  1. Describe the prevalence of high BMI in the United States and the childbearing populations.

  2. Discuss the risks associated with obesity in pregnancy and labor and implications for fetal assessment through fetal monitoring

  3. Identify strategies to maximize maternal and fetal safety of the high BMI mother during the intrapartum period and implications to fetal monitoring


Deborah Cruz, MSN, CRNP

Deborah Cruz is currently Perinatal Nurse Practitioner and Clinical Specialist Labor and Delivery, High Risk Obstetrics at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in CITY, NJ. One of her many achievements, Deborah developed the role of perinatal nurse practitioner in a triage setting for her hospital. In her capacity as a perinatal nurse, she manages antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum patients. An active member of AWHONN and other nursing organizations, she is currently NJ Section Chair of AWHONN. She has participated in AWHONN's Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM) programs for more than 15 years, first as a regional instructor trainer and later in the development of the Instructor Enhancement Course. She also participated as a reviewer for the 4th edition of AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring Principles and Practices. A highly sought-after speaker, Deborah has presented at numerous nursing conferences and has spoken extensively on patient safety in obstetrics and fetal monitoring in high-risk patients. Deborah has collaborated on research projects, contributed to book chapters, and published articles in peer-reviewed articles.

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