The University of Southampton

NQCG3129 Maternity Care for Women with High Risk Maternal and or Fetal Health Needs

Module Overview

This module is aimed at qualified midwives and other health care professionals who are working in maternity service with women who at increased risk of health complications during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period. The module is evidence based, and draws on current UK and international policies and evidence to foster best practice in maternity care. In the past decade there has been an increase in the number of women having who are older, have co morbidities as well as developing pregnancy specific health conditions. This national and international change is reflect in the module content, which will contribute to the development of your clinical practice by the advancement of your knowledge, including the relevant underpinning sciences, and ability to critically appraisal the evidence and its application in maternal and fetal medicine.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module will enable you to enhance your knowledge and skills/competencies in the provision of care for women and their fetus in complex pregnancies/childbirth

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Informed by an understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology, identify and explain how the assessment process can identify the comparative risks for the individual women/fetus, taking account of actual and potential consequences.
  • Debate the clinical and ethical decisions that underpin a partnership approach to the development of individual care and management plans.
  • Evaluate the care planned and received by the woman/fetus.
  • Critically reflect upon the midwife’s role in promoting safe, effective and quality high care in a multidisciplinary context.
  • Enhance your ability (knowledge and skills) to provide care to women with complex needs through the management of the high risk environment, the planning and implementation of care, and subsequent follow up and support including achievement of practice competencies*


Underpinning this module is international evidence and research from Maternity related sources including, but not exclusively, the World Health Organisation (WHO), Confidential Enquiries into Maternal and Child Health, The International Confederation of Midwives as well as topic experts. The module content includes 1. Physiology/pathophysiology, related genetics, and psychosocial aspects underpinning the main complex conditions including: a. Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (PIH, pre-eclampsia HELLP) b. Thromboembolic disorders (coagulation defects, DIC) c. Haemorrhage d. Pre-existing medical disorders (eg diabetes) e. Other disorders or pregnancy (e.g. cholestasis) f. Complications/high risk conditions (e.g. multiple pregnancy) g. Fetal conditions, (eg Rhesus antibodies 2. Principles of care for critically ill women 3. Evidence based practice applied to care provision in relation to all conditions explored 4. Clinical decision making based on ethical principles, the evidence, and the individual client needs and wishes 5. Inter-professional working to facilitate client centred care 6. Midwifery care and normalisation of aspects of care as appropriate to overall needs of the woman and her family

Special Features

Participants must be working within a maternity unit/with women experience complex pregnancy /childbirth and have clinical cases on which to reflect/analyse/ base the critical case review on. Students must have the support of a senior colleague to enable the clinical component of this module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

In line with principles of adult learning each student group will have the opportunity to negotiate their own learning objectives/content in addition to those within the curriculum. A variety of approaches will be used including lectures, facilitative group discussion, self-directed study/guided reading, learning contracts, feedback from module co-ordinators / peers. Students will be encouraged to bring practice exemplars, with due regard for good professional practice, to sessions to facilitate analysis of practice, in a variety of practice contexts through peer discussions and tutorials to explore ideas and gain knowledge from others. It is anticipated that the client perspective will be analysed within such exemplars in line the principles of partnership working with the client. The module focuses on developing a temporary ‘community of learning practice’ utilising blackboard as a resource repository. While there is no specific research theory taught within this module, research evidence will be appraised within most sessions, and where appropriate research processes/principles explored.

Follow-up work100
Completion of assessment task50
Preparation for scheduled sessions70
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2013.

This is Royal College of Obstetrics home page – look up antenatal management of pregnancy complications and guidelines for effective care.

Hall M, Noble A, and Smith S. (editors) (2009). A foundation for neonatal care; a multi-disciplinary guide.. 

Stables D and Rankin J (2010). Physiology in childbearing with anatomy and related biosciences. 

Tucker-Blackburn S;(eds) (2013). Maternal, fetal and neonatal physiology; A clinical perspective. 

Knight M, Kenyon S, Brocklehurst P, Neilson J, Shakepearce J, Kurinczuk JJ (editors) (2014). Saving Lives, Improving Mother’s care; lessons learned to inform future maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal deaths and morbidity 2009-2012. 

Greer IA, Nelson-Piercy C, and Walters B. (2007). Maternal Medicine; medical problems in pregnancy.. 

James DK; Steer PJ; Weiner CP; and Gonik B;(eds) (2011). High Risk Pregnancy Management options. 

Heazell A, Norwitz ER, Kenny LC and Baker PN. (2010). Hypertension in pregnancy. 

Billington M and Stevenson M (2007). Critical care in Childbearing for midwives. 



Case review and plan


MethodPercentage contribution
Clinical Portfolio %
Essay  (2000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Clinical Portfolio %
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Key texts are available within the library. They can also be purchased online or within the bookshop located on campus. For the current costs, you are requested to check on-line. If purchased, this will be at your expense.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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