OBJECTIVE: In Morocco, medical care for women with severe obstetric complications (near-miss cases) ends at discharge from the hospital. Little information exists regarding what happens after returning home. The aim of the study was to assess the physical and mental health consequences of near-miss events on Moroccan women 8 months after childbirth.
METHODS: A prospective cohort study of 76 near-miss women was conducted in three hospitals. For every case, we recruited at least two women from the same hospital who had uncomplicated deliveries (n = 169). We used a mixed-methods approach. For the quantitative part, we analysed sociodemographic characteristics collected via a questionnaire and medical complications extracted from the medical records during a medical consultation at 8 months post-partum. Forty in-depth interviews were also conducted with 20 near-miss cases and 20 women with uncomplicated deliveries.
RESULTS: The near-miss women were poorer and less educated than those who had uncomplicated deliveries. The proportion of physical consequences (serious illness) was higher among near-miss cases (22%) than uncomplicated deliveries (6%, P = 0.001). The risk of depression was significantly higher among near-miss cases with perinatal death (OR = 7.16; [95% CI: 2.85-17.98]) than among those who had an uncomplicated delivery. Interviews revealed that the economic burden of near-miss care contributed to social problems among the women and their households.
CONCLUSION: A near-miss event has consequences that go beyond the first days after delivery. Developing new mechanisms for maternal and newborn health follow-up is essential and should address the mother's physical and mental health problems and involve husbands and family members.