Each year in the United States, we lose 600 to 900 mothers to pregnancy-related deaths and experience 65,000 near misses each year. Black mothers lose their lives at a rate that is triple that of white mothers. These deaths are the highest in the developed world and stand in stark contrast to declines in infant mortality.
Studies indicate that two out of three maternal deaths are preventable. A maternal death is defined as occurring during pregnancy (24%), on the day of delivery or within one week (34%), seven days to 42 days postpartum (19%) or from 43-365 days after delivery (24%). Leading factors include: cardiovascular disease, the top cause of death for Black mothers; hemorrhage, infection, embolism, cardiomyopathy, mental health, preeclampsia and eclampsia. What is driving such poor outcomes? It is a combination of factors, ranging from systems to chronic health conditions to a lack of emphasis on maternal health.
National Public Radio (NPR) and Pro Publica conducted an in-depth investigation into the causes and one of the key findings is the lack of systemic attention on maternal health from both a funding standpoint and recognition that protocols and policies do not prioritize or even recognize the warning signs that the mother may be in jeopardy. Of all federal and state block grants allocated for maternal and child health, only 6 percent is directed to the health of mothers. Even the Medicaid program often fails to prioritize mothers’ health by eliminating coverage at 60 days postpartum in many states, including Kansas and Missouri.
As we consider the topics in need of our attention and focus for the Nurture KC annual meeting, the crisis of maternal mortality demands action. Please join us for our virtual annual meeting –
Addressing Maternal Mortality: Driving Data into Action
– on July 17. Meeting details and the registration link are in the below news item.
Executive Director, Nurture KC