Point of care maternal ultrasound in obstetrics

Sarah Rae Easter, Afshan B. Hameed, Amir Shamshirsaz, Karin Fox, Carolyn M. Zelop

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Ultrasound is the hallmark imaging modality traditionally used by obstetricians for fetal diagnosis and surveillance. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the role of point of care ultrasound for expeditious assessment of the maternal cardiopulmonary status. The familiarity of obstetricians with ultrasound, coupled with the availability of ultrasound equipment without the need to transport the patient, make point of care ultrasound particularly valuable in the labor and delivery unit. The rising contribution of cardiopulmonary disorders to maternal morbidity and mortality carves out many potential applications for point of care ultrasound during labor and delivery. Obstetricians have access to the technology and the skills to obtain the basic views required to assess for the presence of pulmonary edema, ventricular dysfunction, or intra-abdominal free fluid. Point of care ultrasound can be used routinely for the evaluation of pulmonary complaints or in the assessment of hypotension and may play an essential role in the diagnosis and management of life-threatening emergencies such as shock, an amniotic fluid embolism, or cardiac arrest. We reviewed the currently established point of care ultrasound protocols for the evaluation of cardiopulmonary complaints through the lens of the obstetrician. We call on educators and academic leaders to incorporate maternal point of care ultrasound teachings into existing curricula. Point of care ultrasound is of enormous value for providers with limited access to diagnostic imaging or subspecialty providers. With the growing complexity of the obstetrical population, acquiring the clinical skills to meet these evolving needs is a requisite step in the ongoing efforts to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509.e1-509.e13
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiovascular disease
  • hemodynamic assessment
  • maternal mortality
  • point of care ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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