We aimed to determine the morbidity and mortality among obstetric patients admitted to the intensive care unit. In this study, we analyzed retrospectively all obstetric admissions to a multi-disciplinary intensive care unit over a five-year period. Obstetric patients were identified from 4733 consecutive intensive care unit admissions. Maternal age, gestation of newborns, mode of delivery, presence of coexisting medical problems, duration of stay, admission diagnosis, specific intensive care interventions (mechanical ventilation, continuousveno-venous hemofiltration, central venous catheterization, and arterial cannulation), outcome, maternal mortality, and acute physiology and chronic health evaluation (APACHE) II score were recorded. Obstetric patients (n = 125) represented 2.64% of all intensive care unit admissions and 0.89% of all deliveries during the five-year period. The overall mortality of those admitted to the intensive care unit was 10.4%. Maternal age and gestation of newborns were similar in survivors and non-survivors. There were significant differences in length of stay and APACHE II score between survivors and non-survivors (P < 0.05). The commonest cause of intensive care unit admission was preeclampsia/eclampsia (73.6%) followed by post-partum hemorrhage (11.2%). Intensive care specialists should be familiar with these complications of pregnancy and should work closely with obstetricians. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.