Shockingly, maternal mortality and morbidity rates in the United States are the highest among high-income countries. For Black and indigenous people, the rates are even higher. This impacts the mental, physical and emotional well-being of birthing mothers and families.
We know that most maternal complications are preventable. Better risk assessment and communication are key tools to reduce complications and racial and ethnic disparities. However, current obstetric practice does not have a standardized way to assess an individual’s risk for pregnancy complications nor to ensure patients understand these risks and possible solutions.
Our research is focused on engaging and empowering pregnant people as the critical decision makers in their care. We are developing tools to help clinicians better identify patients at risk and to make sure that we prioritize women’s needs and values. By building a system that understands and respects the unique needs of each woman that we care for, we can transform the quality, safety, and equity of maternity care in the United States.
Dr. Kaimal is Professor and Vice Chair of OBGYN Clinical Operations at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. In addition to her clinical and teaching activities, Dr. Kaimal’s research program is focused on the design and implementation of interventions to support risk-appropriate, patient centered care in pregnancy. Her NIH-funded work is focused on mode of delivery and interventions such as induction of labor, prenatal testing, and medications for management of medical complications, as well as systems level assessment of practice patterns and metrics that impact the obstetric population.