childbirth connection newsletter          

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May 29, 2008

Dear Colleague:

We are writing to alert you to a very exciting development for those of us deeply committed to improving the quality of maternal and newborn health care in this country.  This winter the National Quality Forum (NQF) embarked upon a project to consider endorsement of a set of performance measures of perinatal care received during the last trimester of pregnancy through hospital discharge of both mother and newborn.  

Although several measures already endorsed by the NQF touch on maternity or newborn care, this is the first time the NQF has considered a comprehensive set of perinatal measures.  The NQF has now released the proposed measurement set for public review and comment.

The set contains 18 perinatal measures, and 10 recommendations for further research and measure development to address gaps in measures. The full list of measures, together with supporting information, is available at NQF's Perinatal Care Project web page.   While all the proposed measures have been recommended for endorsement by the Perinatal Steering Committee, we believe five of these measures will be of special interest to you and your organization.  They are:  1) the percentage of C-sections among low-risk women giving birth for the first time; (2) the percentage of elective deliveries prior to 39 completed weeks' gestation; (3) hospital support of breastfeeding; (4) rate of episiotomy; and (5) the percentage of infants screened for jaundice prior to hospital discharge.  Available here is a brief background document we have prepared about each of these five measures and about important measures that were not recommended and recommendations for research and measure development.

The NQF public comment period runs through close of business June 11, 2008.  All are invited to comment, whether or not you are an NQF member.  The comments will be made available to the NQF members for their consideration in the voting that will follow, and can result in revisions to the proposed measure set if warranted.   At the conclusion of the comment and voting periods, the final proposed set of measures will be submitted to the NQF Consensus Standards Approval Committee and ultimately to the NQF Board of Directors for endorsement.

We believe it is important that the NQF and its membership realize how significant this first maternal and newborn set of measures is to individuals and organizations that care about improving the quality of care for childbearing women and newborns. We therefore urge you to submit comments to the NQF on the measures and research recommendations, even if only a few sentences.

For more information, please don't hesitate to contact Maureen at or Lee Partridge, at

Thank you.

Maureen Corry      

Maureen Corry
Executive Director
Childbirth Connection

Debra Ness

Debra L. Ness      
National Partnership for Women & Families

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Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality of maternity care through research, education, advocacy and policy. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
Most recent page update: 12/8/2008