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Obstetric Triage: Management of Acute Nonobstetric Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy


  • Diane J. Angelini CNM, EdD, FACNM

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    • Diane J. Angelini is clinical assistant professor and director of the Nurse Midwifery Section within the Department of Ob/Gyn, Brown University School of Medicine/Women and Infants' Hospital in Providence. She completed a doctorate at Boston University and nurse-midwifery at State University of New York; Health Sciences Center in Brooklyn. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nurse Midwives and has been practicing midwifery for 23 years. She is editor of the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing. Her research interests include obstetric triage and nurse-midwifery practice within medical education.

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Acute, nonobstetric abdominal pain is a common complaint during pregnancy. Both anatomic and physiologic variations in pregnancy cloud the clinical picture when attempts at clinical decision-making and triage are made. Abdominal disorders such as appendicitis, gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, liver disease, pyelonephritis, and inflammatory bowel disease are explored from an obstetric triage perspective. Key triage points are noted to augment clinical assessment by the practitioner.