Background: Admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) is an objective marker of severe maternal morbidity (SMM).
Objectives: To determine the prevalence of obstetric ICU admissions in one medical center in Israel and to characterize this population.
Methods: In this retrospective study the files of women coded for pregnancy, birth, or the perinatal period and admission to the ICU were pulled for data extraction (2005–2013).
Results: During the study period, 111 women were admitted to the ICU among 120,279 women who delivered babies (0.09%). Their average age was 30 ± 6 years, most were multigravida, a few had undergone fertility treatments, and only 27% had complicated previous pregnancies. Most pregnancies (71.2%) were uneventful prior to admission. ICU admissions were divided equally between direct (usually hemorrhage) and indirect (usually cardiac disease) obstetric causes.
Conclusions: The indications for obstetrics ICU admission correlated with the proximate causes of maternal arrest observed worldwide. While obstetric hemorrhage is often unpredictable, deterioration of heart disease is foreseeable. Attention should be directed specifically toward improving the diagnosis and treatment of maternal heart disease during pregnancy in Israel.