These guidelines have been prepared by the Sub directorate: Maternal Health for the guidance of health workers (doctors and midwives) providing obstetric, surgical and anaesthetic services for pregnant women in district clinics, health centres and district hospitals. These guidelines are intended for use in clinics, community health centres and district hospitals where specialist services are not normally available. The guidelines deal mainly with the diagnosis and especially the management of common and serious pregnancy problems. The assumption is made that the reader has a basic knowledge and understanding about the care of pregnant women. With a few exceptions (e.g. pre-eclampsia), there is no mention of aetiology and pathogenesis of the conditions described.
The emphasis is on the practical identification and correct management of problems, including referral to higher levels of care. The approach is unashamedly dry, and reduced to point format, so that a management plan can be quickly assimilated and enacted. For certain clinical problems, algorithms (flow diagrams) have been prepared. The guidelines are based on the best available evidence from published research, modified where necessary to suit local conditions. References are not given, but are available from the authors on request. Specifics of management and drug dosing are not cast in stone, and can be modified according to the experience and new evidence.