Exploring the availability and impact of antenatal point of care ultrasound services in rural and remote communities: A scoping review

Mikaela Doig, Janine Dizon, Katherine Guerrero, Nayana Parange

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There are global disparities in the provision of maternal health care, with women from rural communities and under-resourced countries expecting poorer access to healthcare services. This potentially compounds the existing higher burden of maternal and neonatal morbidity within these populations. In this setting, point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) has the potential to improve outcomes while mitigating challenges and barriers associated with the introduction of new medical technology.

To explore the availability and impact of PoCUS use for antenatal care (ANC) in under-resourced settings.

Medline, Embase and Scopus were searched with no year limit. Studies were included if the participants were pregnant women undergoing ANC in a rural setting or developing country and if the intervention was PoCUS use or training.

A total of 3863 unique articles were identified, with 17 meeting the inclusion criteria. Studies originated from Africa, Asia, Central America and Australia. All studies reported that POCUS use for ANC produced positive outcomes. PoCUS introduction into routine ANC resulted in higher antenatal attendance and reduced maternal and neonatal mortality rates. It was demonstrated that it was feasible to provide local healthcare workers with limited training to perform quality scanning and reporting in their clinics. Methods and measures of these three primary outcomes varied between studies.

Integration of PoCUS into ANC in the settings examined improved outcomes in under-resourced areas. Further research should investigate the availability of PoCUS services at a country level, the clinical impact and economic feasibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-185
Number of pages12
JournalAustralasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date12 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • antenatal care
  • developing countries
  • obstetric ultrasound
  • point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS)
  • rural communities
  • under-resourced


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